Appropriate language in relation to child exploitation

The impact of language

The more we speak and listen to victims and survivors of exploitation, the better we understand how our language can impact them and the support they receive. Changing our language can make a significant difference not only to the young people with whom we work, but also to our own mindset and decision-making.

“The language we use to describe things shapes how we perceive them.”

Individuals rarely intend to use language that is victim blaming. It’s often unconscious. The language we use is shaped by and normalised within the cultures we work, live, and spend time in.

legs with converse trainers dangling over graffitied wall
Photo by Aedrian on Unsplash

Victim blaming

Victim-blaming language can reinforce the shame and guilt that perpetrators make their victims feel when trying to control them. It can also strengthen emotional bonds between victims and perpetrators. It creates a mind-set in which both exploiter and exploited are blameworthy and united as ‘part of a team’.

Inappropriate language example:

‘Money mules’

Why is it a problem?

Read ‘Appropriate language in relation to child exploitation’



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