SEFTON LSCB Safeguarding Policies and Procedures Online Manual

    10.1.4 The Tell Tale Signs

    Last updated 12/11/2018

    The Tell Tale Signs

    Below are some of the signs that indicate that a young person maybe involved or at risk of becoming involved in serious and organised crime via criminal exploitation:

    • Withdrawn from family
    • Sudden loss of interest in school, decline in attendance or academic achievement
    • Use of new or unknown slang words
    • Holds unexplained money or possessions or cannot explain where large sums of money have gone (financial exploitation)
    • Staying out unusually late without reason
    • Sudden change in appearance – dressing in a particular style or ‘uniform’ or colour similar to that of other young people they hang around with
    • Dropped out of positive activities
    • New nickname
    • Unexplained physical injuries
    • Graffiti style ‘tags’ on possessions, school books, walls
    • Constant mention of other young people or adults who seems to have a lot of influence over them
    • Broken off with old friends and hangs around with one group of people
    • Increased use of social networking sites
    • Use of certain codes of group behaviour e.g. ways of talking and hand signs
    • Expressing aggressive or intimidating views towards other groups of young people, some of whom may have been friends in the past
    • Signs of sexual exploitation e.g. pregnancy, abortion (perhaps forced), sexually transmitted infections and injuries
    • Signs of psychological effects of exploitation – depression and suicide attempts for example
    • Fearful when entering certain areas
    • Concerned by the presence of unknown youths in their neighbourhoods

    (DCSF, Safeguarding Children &Young People who may be affected by Gang Activity, 2010)