Chloe, 13, was groomed online and sexually exploited by a man who was pretending to be somebody else.
More about Chloe's experience
Watch the film clip to see how Chloe copes with:
- Losing trust in her mum
- Finding out the person she thought was her boyfriend is actually exploiting her
- Having to give evidence in court
Chloe used online chat rooms to talk to others her age, but got talking to a 24 year old man who was pretending to be 18. They messaged each other a lot, arranged to meet at parties where he gave Chloe presents, and slept with each other on a few occasions. Chloe was in love and thought this man was her boyfriend.
Her mum Kate noticed Chloe was often angry and very secretive, so decided to look through her laptop. She found Chloe’s messages, and realised she had to contact the police. The police traced the offending man, and pressed a range of charges against him, involving Chloe, and also other girls that he had sexually exploited. Chloe and Kate were referred to You & Co, to help Chloe prepare for giving evidence in court.
How did Chloe feel?
Chloe felt that her trust had been broken. Her mum had looked through her laptop without permission, and her ‘boyfriend’ was not who he said he was, and had been meeting up with other young girls. She found it hard to understand that she was a victim of sexual exploitation. Chloe felt she had nobody to talk to, not only was the whole subject very embarrassing, but she was still very angry at her mum for getting involved.
How did You & Co help?
Chloe’s young victim’s worker understood that Chloe didn’t know who she could trust. She explained her role; to support Chloe, to meet when and where Chloe felt comfortable and to help her to make choices and decisions. This helped Chloe accept help, and she was relieved that she finally had someone to open up to.
Chloe’s young witness worker helped prepare her for court, and was there for her when she gave her evidence. Chloe’s worker went through what happens in court, and made sure she knew what was going on with the trial. Chloe’s worker also helped her understand that she was entitled to apply for special measures – so she could give evidence via live link. That way she did not have to be in the courtroom when talking about what happened. She also asked for the public gallery to be cleared because she did not want them to hear these private things.