Your safety is the most important thing you have to worry about. To be safe you need to realise when there is danger. You also need to know how to act when you’re in dangerous situations.
When you know what to look for and how to act, you will feel safer at home, in school, at work, online or out and about on your own or with friends.
If you feel unsafe, or have an issue that you need to deal with, don’t go it alone. Sefton’s youth workers can will be ready to listen to you and help you tackle it head on. They won’t judge and will help you to get the help you need. You can contact them using the Sefton Youth e-form.
Your safety in the community
Everyone has a responsibility to make sure their community is safe.
The Police and youth workers are working to help you avoid crime or becoming a victim of it. Criminal gangs have many ways to recruit you. These include:
- Older gang members making friends with you
- Using threats, rewards and praise where you don’t get them at home, in school or your community
The threat of criminal behaviour is very real. It can lead to jail, serious injury or even death.
You might be part of a gang because you feel protected or have a sense of belonging. If you part of a gang or worried about someone who has been sucked into it, contact Sefton’s youth workers using the Sefton Youth e-form
Your safety online
The Internet and social media are fun spaces to talk to your friends, be creative and have fun but there can be dangers too – it is very important to be safe online, as with all other parts of your life.
At any time, any one of us will think we are completely safe online. Here are a some handy tips from Merseyside Police to make sure you are:
- Don’t share your name, mobile number, address or school with anyone you don’t know – they may not be who they say they are
- Don’t accept strangers as friends – if you think they suspicious, tell a trusted adult right away
- Avoid sharing your pics with strangers – you don’t want someone you don’t know using images of you and your family
- Don’t meet anyone who you only know from your social media or apps like Live.ly
- Adjust your privacy settings so only approved friends can message you in private – this won’t ruin your social life as you can approve new friends who you know
- Think before sharing images on your social media – these can be easily cut and paste. Once an image is online, it’s online forever
Child sexual exploitation is child abuse. If you are being groomed and/or abused you may not realise it – just because you agree to it, doesn’t mean you aren’t a victim. It puts you at massive risk of damage to your physical, emotional and mental health. Here’s what to look out for:
- You are receiving unexplained gifts or money from an adult
- You have to use your mobile phone in secret
- Your friends are much older than you
- You have been picked up from home or school by someone you don’t really know
- You are skipping school and regularly running away from home
- Self-harming happens on a regular basis
Childline is an advice and support service provided by the NSPCC. Children and young people can talk about their worries, concerns or share positive experiences.
Listen To My Story is a website to help young people and parents, carers and professionals to understand child sexual exploitation / child abuse. There’s loads of useful info, including videos.