Worldwide, individuals use the Internet to find child sexual abuse material and connect with others who share their sexual interest in children. This behavior occurs under an assumed level of anonymity, and although some may recognize that this behavior is wrong, many individuals need a third party to tell them to stop and seek help. For the past 5 years, we have been communicating directly with people searching for child abuse imagery, disrupting their sense of anonymity and encouraging them to seek help. By suggesting help resources, we aim to change their behavior and increase their accountability.
We know this works. Over the last few years, we have had over 20,000 instances of individuals taking further action to seek help—by calling the help line, emailing a dedicated email address, or clicking through to external help sites.
Child Abuse Imagery Deterrence in the UK
Other organizations around the world run similar deterrence programs, and we are excited for a new public awareness campaign that launched in the UK last week. The new initiative set up by Stop it Now! UK & Ireland, aims to deter would-be offenders by clarifying the laws around viewing and sharing this content, expressing the harm done to children, showing the consequences of this behavior, and directing people who are struggling to confidential and anonymous resources.
Their message is clear: There are no grey areas. This is not a victimless crime. The consequences can be devastating. There is help to stop.
Stop it Now! has already helped thousands of people change their behavior and with their new campaign, they are likely to help thousands more. You can help too—by being aware of the signs that a family member or friend may be viewing child sexual abuse material, you can help detect this behavior and encourage them to seek help. If you are concerned about someone you know, check out their video below or the Stop It Now! UK & Ireland website for more helpful information.
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