You may have seen news coverage in the last few days about the increased threat of sexual offending via Live streaming apps. As well as directing you to our new resources on Live Streaming #LiveSkills that can be used to educate children, young people, parents and carers about Live streaming, it was important that we address the behaviour of sharing images and videos of sexual abuse.
This week, CEOP received an unprecedented number of reports about a sexual abuse video, involving two children, which has gone ‘viral’. We hope you understand that for the purposes of the ongoing safeguarding for the children involved, we are unable to release specifics about the content in the video, however, we can inform you that the children are safe and that a man has been arrested and charged with several offences in connection with this incident.
The advice from police in relation to this video is that if children and young people receive it on any social media platform, they should delete it immediately and tell a trusted adult – a teacher or parent for example.
It is really important that they understand that if they show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people, they could be committing a crime and we want to stop that happening. The police have been clear that they do not want to criminalise children and that children won’t be in trouble if they’ve made a genuine mistake.
For professionals and parents finding out that images and videos of abuse are being circulated by young people and adults on social media, it can be a stressful time and difficult to know what course of action to take immediately. Here are some clear steps to take and important things to remember.
- Please never share a video or image depicting any kind of abuse involving children
- Each time a video or image of abuse is shared it re-victimises the child and increases the likelihood of blackmail, feelings of self-blame and powerlessness
- Report it to the platform it has been shared on e.g YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc
- Report it to CEOP if it is an image or video of sexual abuse involving a child with a link to where the video or image is hosted e.g YouTube, Facebook.
- If it’s not on a public platform and in only exists on a device ie. Phone, tablet. Once reported, with authorisation of CEOP or the Police, delete it from the device it has been sent to (if offender usernames are visible make note of them)
- Encourage other people to report if it is being shared publicly
If you work in a school or college and are concerned about what to do with peer to peer sharing of sexual images or videos you can refer to the ‘Sexting in schools and colleges guidance’
If a parent or carer is worried about a child seeing inappropriate things online Thinkuknow/parents has more information.