Charity nets funding to tackle online child abuse

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation has been handed Home Office funding to cope with a surge in callers and visitors to its online and telephone support service for offenders looking to change their behaviour.

Joe Lepper | 18th Mar 19
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A charity that offers online and telephone advice to paedophiles looking to change their behaviour has been handed £600,000 in Home Office funding.

The money has been made to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation following a 65% rise in callers and visitors to its Stop It Now! self-help website and helpline.

The Home Office money will help the charity to support more people over the next 18 months who are at risk of offending.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s Stop It Now! campaign launched in 2015 to discourage people from looking at illegal sexual images of children online and support those who want to change their behaviour. Calls remain confidential and anonymous unless a child is deemed to be at risk.

Families and friends or offenders, as well as professionals, are also supported by the charity.

Since its launch 5,114 people, who are looking to stop viewing such images, have called its helpline and 2,418 have called with concerns about someone else’s behaviour.

The charity’s Get Help website has more than 40,900 users iin 2018, compared to 23,000 in 2016.

Confidential help

“People viewing sexual images of children online need to know this is not a victimless crime – children are harmed when these images are first made, and afterwards when they are viewed or shared again,” said Donald Findlater, Director of the Stop It Now! helpline.

“There are serious consequences for anyone arrested for such behaviour, possibly including imprisonment, losing their job, friendships and relationships, losing contact with their own children as well as ending up on the sex offenders register.

“Confidential help is available to stop viewing these images and to stay stopped. Over these last three years thousands of people, mostly men, have come to us for help to get their lives back on track. This additional funding will ensure thousands more get through to stop their illegal behaviour and stay stopped.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid added: “Child sexual abuse is a truly sickening crime and I’m committed to doing everything in my power to eradicate it from society.

“It’s vital we take action on a number of fronts. That’s why we have given police and prosecutors the tools they need to bring offenders to justice, are educating young people on how they can protect themselves and will be legislating to ensure tech giants are fulfilling their responsibilities to protect our children.

“But it is also important to focus on preventative measures that stop potential abusers from committing crimes in the first place. The Lucy Faithfull Foundation plays a key role in this work and has my full support.”

Other Home Office action to tackle child sexual abuse online has included a £250,000 fund to help organisations develop innovative ways of disrupting live streaming of abuse.