Police advice to parents in advance of the summer holidays

Issued on 11/7/18 at 2:50 p.m.

With summer holidays fast approaching, Leicestershire Police are reminding parents and carers to ensure they have full knowledge of the whereabouts of their children.

Following a small number of incidents involving missing children of various ages in recent weeks, the Force wants parents and carers to be aware of the risks young people can face, in particular exposure to gangs and child sexual exploitation (CSE).

One of the most frequent indicators of child exploitation is going missing. It is therefore important that children are reported to the police every time they do, even if it is occurring on a daily basis.

Detective Inspector Jennifer Heggs from the force’s multi-agency CSE team (MaCSE) said: “Parents and carers must be vigilant and if their child does start to go missing for the odd night here or there, find out what's happening. This is particularly important with the long summer holidays approaching.

“It is crucial parents are aware of the signs a child could be at risk of CSE or gang association and that this is shared with friends and family - the more people who understand this danger, the better they are able to protect children.”

Warning signs

CSE

Over time, grooming changes a child's behaviour. The problem is that these changes can look a lot like typical teenage behaviour. Pace (Parents Against Child Exploitation) suggests getting advice if your child exhibits three or more of the following warning signs:

Gang association

At least half of all CSE happens online – follow this guidance to help keep children safe from online abuse:

From the social networks and apps children use to setting parental controls and guarding against online abuse, these websites offer useful advice and help for all ages:

Anyone who has concerns about the safety of a young person should call Leicestershire Police on 101. If a child is in immediate danger, always call 999.

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