UK charity leads online abuse campaign

UK charity leads online abuse campaign

11th July 2016


A COORDINATED global network of professionals dedicated to aiding the recovery of all child victims of online sexual abuse has been launched by a UK-based charity.

Marie Collins Foundation is carrying out an international study of work to support harmed children and is leading the development of the Global Protection Online Network, which will bring together the best professional practice around the world to help young victims and their families.

MCF is the only charity in the UK dedicated to the recovery needs of young victims sexually abused and exploited online and its founder and CEO Tink Palmer is a recognised expert in the field having trained professionals worldwide and written widely on the subject – her latest publication being Digital Dangers in November 2015, a report commissioned by Barnardo’s.

The charity has been awarded funding from the global fund pledged at the international #WePROTECT Children Online summit hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron in London in 2014.

The money is being used to:

Establish an international network of professionals - the Global Protection Online Network - providing support services to child victims of technology-related violence, abuse and exploitation;

Create a secure online platform for the exchange of knowledge, experience and resources among the international network of experts;

Fund a report on the current international evidence based research relating to the recovery of children from online abuse;  

Carry out an initial survey to map out work practices, evidenced-based case studies and lessons learned among professionals in the 17 countries identified by UNICEF as priorities, and to identify their future training needs.

Prof Palmer, who has recently carried out site visits and interviews in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, revealed the early findings of the international study at From Discovery to Recovery 2016, MCF's second international conference held in London and supported by BT.

Prof Palmer said: "We are delighted that the expertise within Marie Collins Foundation has been recognised with the awarding of this funding which allows us to carry out valuable work with the potential to benefit current and future victims of online sexual abuse.

"It is the first time all the research in this area is brought together, allowing us to identify the best international practices for supporting harmed children and helping them recover and go on to lead fulfilling lives.

Prof Palmer, who was invited to speak at the Prime Minister's Summit and at a second event in Abu Dhabi last year, added: "While we are all dedicated to stamping out these insidious and hateful crimes and catching those responsible, the online resource and establishment of a global network of experts will ensure greater sharing of knowledge and expertise in the future.

"The Internet knows no boundaries and it is only through working together that we will be able to  to reduce the harm to victims and ensure they receive the very best support."

The review of literature and evidence-based practices is being carried out by Dr Ethel Quayle, a reader in clinical psychology at the University of Edinburgh and a former practitioner who worked with sex offenders and their victims.

Professionals from law enforcement, education, social services, health, industry, NGOs and charities in the UK and overseas attended the conference at the BT Centre. 

Co-chaired by Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs Council lead on Violence and Public Protection as well as Child Protection and Abuse Investigation and MCF vice-chairman, organisations represented include Government, CEOP Command at the National Crime Agency, police forces across the UK, Microsoft, Vodafone and the Premier League.

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