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Clare Livens, Child Exploitation Manager Blog

Clare Livens, Child Exploitation Manager Blog

Author: Stephanie Brewington/25 April 2018/Categories: Uncategorized

This March we released a campaign across Southend, Essex and Thurrock to raise public awareness to the issues of online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Children and young people are often the experts in navigating around the internet and the online world is becoming increasingly available to them through the use of smart phones, varied and changing aps, online gaming and internet sites.  A survey in Essex reported that more than 80% of Year 6 pupils and 95% of Year 8 pupils reported that they had a mobile phone with access to the internet.  28% of year 6 pupils and 53% of year 8 pupils reported to have a Facebook account, 44% of year 6 pupils and 73% of year 8 pupils reported to have a Snapchat account and 41% of year 6 pupils and 84% of year 8 pupils reported to have an Instagram account. The threat of abuse is a serious one, online abuse is present in over 60% of our investigations across Essex in respect of child sexual exploitation. Within Essex alone there are 4 children every month who meet people following online grooming.

The campaign was supported across our SET partners with the ESCB website hosting the support page for the campaign, if you haven’t yet seen this please visit this link: www.essex.police.uk/onlineCSE which will link you straight to the ESCB support page for Online CSA.  The page features loads of helpful tools for you to work with families to support parents/carers, children and young people to better understand and navigate the online world safely and responsibly; also tips on what to do if they are worried about something they have seen or been asked to do online.  We have also put together a ‘Parents Online Safety Resource Pack’ which is filled with a variety of leaflets which can be used for conversations around keeping their child safe online.

A massive thanks to all of you who supported this important campaign, utilising these resources and spreading the messages within communities/families in Essex really does make a difference to ensure we are taking the earliest steps to tackle online abuse.  The social media campaign by ESCB and Essex Police alone reached over 500,000 people during the targeted week with our Snapchat stories being viewed by 2000 children, and there were lots of other activities making a difference such as newspaper articles, and work going on within schools.  However, it doesn’t stop here, the link will remain live with access to all the stories, case studies, social media help guides, help and support links, information for parents / young people / children’s workforce / schools, just log on and take a look.

As always, please feel free to contact me to discuss anything within my blog or in relation to child exploitation.  Clare.Livens@essex.gov.uk, 07788303718 

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