Council and HSCP back campaign against child sexual abuse
Stop it Now principals – Hendren, Mason and Hinds.
By Moira Rodger
West Dunbartonshire Council and the area’s Health and Social Care Partnership are backing Police Scotland’s campaign against child sexual abuse.
The campaign, #StopitNow, encourages offenders to seek help and also raises awareness of online abuse and child exploitation with parents.
The campaign also highlights to offenders the consequences of targeting young people online for a sexually motivated purpose.
Police Scotland have warned perpetrators that by approaching young people for sexually motivated conversations or actions, they face losing their privacy, their family and friends, their employment and liberty; as well as having to live with the impact of their actions for the rest of their life.
Stop It Now Scotland offers a confidential and non-judgemental support service for offenders and those concerned about their thoughts or actions.
In a joint statement, Jonathan Hinds, Head of Children’s Health, Care and Criminal Justice for West Dunbartonshire HSCP and Chair of West Dunbartonshire Child Protection Committee and Laura Mason, Chief Education Officer for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “As partners working with Police Scotland with a shared commitment to preventing Child Sexual Abuse, we welcome Police Scotland’s new Online Child Sexual Abuse campaign, “#StopitNow”.
“Police Scotland have confirmed national figures show from April 2018 to February 2019, there have been almost 1600 crimes recorded where an individual has communicated with a child for sexual purposes, 70% of which were detected. Of these 1600 offences, 98 were reports of grooming or attempting to groom a child for sexual purposes, 90% of which were detected. “West Dunbartonshire Child Protection Committee members welcome the focus of the ‘StopitNow’ campaign to identify and deter perpetrators or potential perpetrators who currently pose a risk to children online.
“Whilst this campaign is specific on targeting perpetrators of online child grooming as well as potential perpetrators, Police Scotland and its partners will also continue to work together to educate children and their parents on online safety, encourage them to report such offences and ensure they are supported to stay safe from harm.”
Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren, the Local Policing Commander, said: “My officers will continue to work with our partners in raising the awareness of the dangers that children can face online from adults who contact them for sexual purposes. I welcome the continued support of West Dunbartonshire Council on our new campaign #StopitNow. Our joint aim is to reassure the public and increase their confidence in recognising and responding to concerns about sexual abuse and the exploitation of children. I urge anyone with any concerns regarding such crimes to contact us and get the help and support they need. Offenders will be caught and face the consequences of their actions. ”
Stop It Now offers non-judgemental and confidential help to those concerned about their behaviour. For more information, visit https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/scotland-policescotland.htm
Anyone concerned about a child or believes a child is in urgent need of help should contact Police Scotland on 101 or 999. Alternatively residents can call Social Work area offices at Clydebank 0141 562 8800 or Dumbarton 0141 562 8888. Concerns can also be raised with Barnardos by calling 0141 419 4700 and Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111. Residents can also contact Glasgow and Partners Social Work Emergency Service Out of Hours Service on 0300 343 1505.