Greater Manchester Police has joined forces with child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation for a week long campaign to get people who look at sexual images of children seek help to stop.
Launched today, the campaign aims to deter offenders in Greater Manchester from continuing to download illegal and harmful images of children and encourage them to access support via a confidential and anonymous helpline that is operated by Stop it Now! – a child sexual abuse prevention campaign run by the Foundation.
Within the last 12 months, Stop it Now! has already seen over 1,900 people from Greater Manchester access help and support through the website and helpline, 52 per cent more than the previous year.
The campaign makes it clear that downloading sexually explicit images of anyone under 18 is illegal, is the cause of great harm to the children in the images and highlights the severe consequences for those who continue to offend.
Just as important, information will be sent to people across Greater Manchester who routinely look at indecent images of children, signposting them to a range of online self-help resources and information that can help them understand their behaviour, what triggers it and how they can stop.
This online help is available via a dedicated website: www.get-help.stopitnow.org.uk and through the confidential and anonymous Stop it Now! helpline: 0808 1000 900.
Detective Chief Inspector Debbie Oakes from Greater Manchester Police said: “We remain committed to protecting children from online sexual abuse and continue to work to bring offenders of this abhorrent crime to justice.
“We want offenders to consider the devastating impact that this crime has on victims as well as the consequences for themselves and their families when they are caught.
“Our partnership with The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is crucial in raising awareness of child protection as well as giving offenders the opportunity to seek help.”
Tom Squire, Clinical Manager at The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, said: “Stop it Now! Is determined to protect children from abuse and the devastating impact of having their image repeatedly shared across the internet. The best way to do this is to deter people from looking at these images in the first place, and to get those who are looking to stop.
“We know from many years of experience that when you make people aware that help is available to stop, people will take up that offer of help. We work with many men arrested after downloading huge numbers of abusive images of children. Nearly all of them say they wish they had known sooner about the help that’s available to stop. There will be many people across Greater Manchester right now who are very worried about what they are looking at online but have no idea how to get help to stop. Our message to them is simple, get in touch and we can help you start making positive changes. You can reach us either via the Stop it Now! Get Help website, or via our confidential Helpline on 0808 1000 900.”
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Bev Hughes said: “It’s very easy for predators to groom children and access sexual material online, whilst never having to face the devastating consequences for children and their families’.
“Educating people about the damage they can have on somebody’s life is an important part of preventing sexual abuse – and obviously a key part of what the Lucy Faithfull Foundation do.
“Preventing online child sexual exploitation continues to be a key priority for me and all partners across Greater Manchester, and we are working hard to ensure we prevent it from happening.”
Greater Manchester Police will host a live web chat on Wednesday 27 June 6pm – 7pm when a senior representative from Greater Manchester Police, together with a Senior Practitioner from The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, will be available to respond to any questions people may have about indecent images of children, the law surrounding such images, and the help that’s available to stop. People can join the web chat anonymously.