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How do I know if my friend is being sexually harmed?

Here are some things to look out for:

  • Does your friend seem different? Are they more upset, angry or distressed?
  • Have they become withdrawn, staying away from their friends or family?
  • Do they seem unusually worried or scared?
  • Has your friend told you that they’re scared of someone else?
  • Have you seen them behaving differently online? For example, they might have started using new apps or stopped using apps they used to like.
  • Have they developed any new friendships online? Are you worried about who these friends are and if they’re harming your friend? Does your friend have a new relationship that they’re being secretive about?
  • Have they started getting expensive gifts or new things that they wouldn’t usually have the money for?
  • Has your friend told you about any sexual abuse they’ve experienced?
  • Have they told you, or hinted, that someone is making them do sexual things they don’t want to do?

If you’ve noticed any of these things, it doesn’t automatically mean that your friend is being sexually harmed. But it does mean there’s a chance they’re being affected by harmful sexual behaviour.