Young people aged 13-24 are growing up and becoming adults. Everybody makes mistakes along the way. Usually this is just part of growing up and is easily solved. But sometimes young people get into more serious trouble and suffer problems as a result, like:
- Missing school or college
- Not getting important qualifications
- Drifting into risky or criminal behaviour
If this is happening to you or a friend, then you need to take action. But don’t worry about solving problems on your own. Lots of help is available.
Talk to someone
If you are worried about your own or someone else’s behaviour, then talk to an adult you trust. If you can, talk to a teacher, youth worker or social worker. These adults have a duty to make sure you are safe. That includes supporting you to avoid risky situations and make positive changes.
Things you can do yourself
People in risky situations struggle to find opportunities and maintain healthy relationships. They are also more at risk of health problems like substance misuse and dropping out of education.
If you or your friends are getting involved in risky or dangerous behaviour, there are some simple changes you can make which will help:
- Change your routine
- Avoid risky situations and plans
- Get interested in a wider variety of thing
Groomed to commit crimes?
Some adults exploit children by befriending them and then persuading or forcing them to commit crimes. This can be things like:
- Carrying drugs
- Hiding stolen goods
Adult criminals use children to do crimes because they believe that children are easily bullied, they won’t go to the police, and they don’t need to be paid much. Children may receive some money but are more often threatened with violence, terrorised, attacked or told they need to work to pay off imaginary debts. Friends and family members may also be threatened or attacked. Criminal Exploitation can happen alongside Child Sexual Exploitation. Children who join gangs are particularly at risk.
While adults exploiting children are caught and jailed, this process can take time. During this time a lot of damage can be done. Social workers and police will help, but this can be very difficult if the child has been persuaded or forced to resist or refuse help.
Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are often involved when young people get into trouble. They can make it harder to resist pressure and easier to act in way that is impulsive, aggressive or dangerous. They lower inhibitions and make it harder to think clearly about a situation.