Embrace Child Victims of Crime has backed a call by the Internet Watch Foundation for a national effort to prevent the demand for harmful child sexual abuse images online.
Embrace CEO Anne Campbell travelled to Westminster to mark the launch of the IWF’s powerful annual report ‘Once Upon a Year’, and to amplify the voice of child victims of online abuse.
The IWF report focused on the story of Olivia – a girl repeatedly raped and sexually abused from the age of three to eight, whose images continue to circulate online to this day.
As the only national charity focused on helping children across the UK recover from serious crime, Embrace is supporting a growing number of young people and families left devastated by such crimes.
In her speech to delegates, Anne told the story of one teenage girl left feeling shameful and isolated after bring coerced into ‘talking dirty’, content then shared online, and of a mother left to pick up the pieces after her 10-year-old daughter was sexually abused by someone spurred by viewing illicit images of children online. Both children are in recovery after receiving support from Embrace.
“Everyone needs to know how the internet can be used as tool of some of the most extreme sex abuse and exploitation – a tool that can too often lead towards the destruction of young lives and families,” she said.
In support of the IWF campaign, Embrace will today systematically record all referrals made for crimes involving the sharing of explicit images or content of children online – providing insight on the medium and long-term impact on victims of online sexual abuse, as well as the benefits of early and tailored intervention to support their recovery.
Speaking after the launch, Anne said: “We stand firm with the Internet Watch Foundation to collectively raise the voice of innocent child victims of crime, and to back their call to reduce the demand for online images of child sexual abuse.
“We know, from our extensive experience of working with young victims, the potential long-term consequences for victims and we will continue to do everything we can to aid their recovery, support their families, and to prevent trauma from transitioning into harmful behaviour.”
Embrace provides a range of therapeutic support to children impacted by serious crime across the UK, taking referrals from the police and other statutory agencies.