The first a mother had any idea her daughter was in a dangerous relationship was when she started behaving erratically and staying out late. What happened after that is part of a hard hitting film about the dangers of online grooming, which will be distributed to every school in Gloucestershire and was shown for the first time in in public today.

The film, called ‘Friend Request…’ includes the views and experiences of a number of young people; the parent whose daughter was groomed through social media and extracts from a poem written by a victim who was exploited for sex.

‘Friend Request…’ was released today during a half-day conference in Cheltenham on the issue of Child Sexual Exploitation and comes as the number of sexual offences against children reported to Gloucestershire Police last year rose to 321 – an increase of 17%.

Gloucester mother Claire Miller’s daughter knows from experience the dangers young people face. She says,

“I wasn’t aware that this could happen. You hear about it on the news and things but you never think it could happen to your family, your children”

Click here for Claire’s story.

Karen Smith is an outreach worker who works with victims of sexual exploitation and says it can affect anyone, boys as well as girls

Click here for more

Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl’s office produced the film as part of the Young people becoming adults’ strand of the wider Police and Crime Plan.

Click here for more

Det Chief Insp Steve Bean, Gloucestershire’s Public Protection Bureau says the film sexual exploitation of young people  crosses all cultural and ethnic boundaries. Boys are just as vulnerable but are reluctant to come forward, often because they are too embarrassed.

He says,

“It really can happen to anyone, anywhere”

Click here for more

If you have been affected by any of these issues, or know someone who has, contact Gloucestershire Social care – children and families  helpdesk 01452 426565 or


Other useful websites:

Other useful numbers:

  • Say something’ National CSE helpline (call or text anonymously) 116 000
  • Gloucestershire Police: 101/999
  • Crimestoppers (0800 555 111)
  • NSPCC – 0808 8005000
  • Childline – 08001111