Child protection conference

Thursday, 13 April, 2017


Ahead of the national STOP CSE awareness day on Saturday 18th March ‘Together Tackling Online Child Sexual Exploitation’ conference was held in Cardiff to consider how to tackle the growth in viewing and sharing of sexual images of under 18s online.

It brought together senior representatives from Welsh Government, South Wales Police, the Children's Commissioner for Wales and the leading child protection charity, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, as well as other safeguarding professionals from across Wales and England.

The conference builds on the success of Operation Net Safe which was established to counter a threat identified in November 2015 when Chief Constable Simon Bailey, National Police Chiefs' Council lead on Child Protection, announced that over 100,000 individuals from across the UK were regularly accessing indecent images of children (IIOC) online.

In response in November 2016, Operation Net Safe was launched across Wales to tackle this threat. Operation Net Safe is a partnership between the four Welsh police forces and child protection charity, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation. The Foundation's staff of Probation Officers; Social Workers, Psychologists and ex-police officers help prevent child sexual abuse, through work with victims, families and sex offenders themselves.

The operation is being led by South Wales Police and has so far resulted in 43 arrests in South Wales with more arrests across the rest of Wales. The Stop it Now! Helpline has seen a rise in the number of people from Wales seeking confidential advice and support to stop online offending. In addition 3699 people from Wales have visited the Stop it Now! self-help website, an increase of 226% on the previous two month period.

Speakers at this conference raised awareness of the growth in numbers accessing sexual images of children online and the wider impact of this behaviour for victims, the offender themselves and offender's family and friends.

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