It has been a time of great change within MCF, but we continue to grow from strength to strength as we work collaboratively to combat child sexual abuse and exploitation on both the national and international stage. Our vision that anyone harmed by technology assisted child sexual abuse has the opportunity to be supported throughout their journey of recovery, remains at the core of all we do.
And what a year, 2021 was!
In May 2021 Tink Palmer MBE retired from her role as CEO. Tink founded MCF in 2010 and has left a phenomenal legacy. MCF continues to thrive because of her commitment and dedication. The mantle has been picked up by the new CEO, Vicki Green who many of you will have known as the Director of Services. Vicki has a wealth of experience in child protection and online safety and has been a part of the MCF team since 2015.
New Professional Lead
In May 2021 we welcomed Lawrence Jordan to the MCF team. Lawrence is a social worker with many years of statutory social work under his belt. Prior to coming to MCF Lawrence was the lead social worker tackling children who are reported missing, exploited, and trafficked. Part of this response was also overseeing a multi-agency team responding to this area.
New Business Manager
In September 2021, after many years working at MCF, Rachel Morris left to start up her own business. We wish her all the best in her new enterprise. Claire Cheeseman was welcomed to the team in October and has hit the ground running.
New Global Protection Online Network (GPN) Co-ordinator
In November we welcomed Rushelle Reid to our team as the new GPN co-ordinator. Rushelle has a background in law enforcement, having worked in the Royal Montserrat Police Service where she specialised in child sexual abuse investigations. She joins us at an exciting time, as we focus on strengthening our engagement with GPN members as we head into the new year.
As we entered 2021, we were still in the grip of the pandemic which changed the way we worked and the services we offered. Through lock down we continued to offer support to victims and their families via phone and Teams. Once the country opened up, we were able to meet face to face. It highlighted the challenge many of you have faced, and how important relationship-based working is. Nothing really makes up for in person support.
Training: The Click: Path to Protection training was adapted for delivery on virtual platforms and evaluated by the University of Suffolk. Thanks go to our partners in North Yorkshire Children Safeguarding Partnership for assisting in this pilot and evaluation. The roll out continues, and feedback shows that professionals highly value the training.
The GPN platform has two new e-learning products available to members. They are an Introduction to Child Protection and Click: Path to Protection’ (International) Foundation. The latter builds on the success of Click Path to Protection in the UK with the key messages contextualised for our international colleagues.
Mentoring and advice: We have continued to offer support and guidance to a range of professionals as they work to support children in their recovery. Remember, we are here for you – you are not alone.
What your support means to us:
We would like to thank the following organisations for their support and innovative working
Anne Craft Trust (ACT)– with financial support from HFC (Help for Children), ACT and MCF developed a resource for parents of children with autism. The leaflet can be found here. This was a great example of bringing the expertise of two organisations together to produce a fabulous resource.
North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner – their financial support has enabled us to work in partnership with colleagues in North Yorkshire schools and police force to develop bespoke training around responding to online child abuse incidents. They have also supported the development of resources including advice for parents on having conversations about helping their children navigate the online world.
BT – their continued support has enabled us to roll out the training and the very popular parents’ sessions.
Microsoft – they have consistently supported MCF to expand their international reach. Without their initial support, GPN would not be what it is today
Google – have given us the capacity to build on the partnerships we have developed globally, to respond to online child sexual abuse ,and to collaborate with partners to find solutions.
EVAC (End Violence Against Children) – have supported the development of the GPN which has enabled us to expand our reach globally as we seek to share knowledge and expertise to increase professional’s capacity to respond.
Oak Foundation – have enabled MCF to build a progressive network of organisations who work to support victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation to become a credible international voice that can influence change.
Garfield Weston Foundation who has granted us core funding, giving MCF the flexibility and agility to be involved in many consultations and projects which do not provide an income. Without this sort of support, MCF would not have the reach it does. It has also enabled us to develop a new website (ready for spring 2022).
Indigo Trust – have also provided unrestricted funding. This has given us the ability to really drive forward our work to elevate the voice of victims and survivors. We are currently developing best practice advice for organisations wishing to capture the voice of the victim as well as guidance for those victims and survivors who wish to have their voice heard. The working group is made up entirely of victims and survivors, and we are in a position where we can pay them for their expertise. Watch this space!
SWGfL – for partnering with us on an initiative to build capacity amongst professionals when responding to harmful sexual behaviour – another watch this space!
Safeguarding Network – for spreading the word through their network by making our E-Learning Think Path to Protection available to their members
Central Bedfordshire Council - for continuing to deliver the Click Path to Protection training and providing their learners with the E-Learning
What is coming in 2022?
We have big plans going forward and invite you to join us in any way you can. Aligned with our 5 year strategy, 2022 will see:
Advocacy: MCF continuing to be a leading voice in advocating for children’s rights when responding to technology assisted child sexual abuse through working with you all, partners, government and industry, to ensure the voice of the victim and survivor is heard, to influence law, policy and practice, both in the UK and internationally.
Education: Continuing to share examples of best practice to build both the confidence and capacity for professionals to respond in a manner that is truly victim centred. We are developing an International Click Path to Protection to expand the reach of Click Path to Protection across the globe and training on interviewing children. We will be developing more bespoke training that hangs from the golden thread that is Click Path to Protection – for example, interventions that work.
Innovation: Knowing what works, working with colleagues in the field of research and partners developing new ways of tackling technology assisted child sexual abuse is considered important to MCF. We believe in ‘thinking outside the box’ and want to do more around raising awareness about the impact of non-contact technology assisted child sexual abuse through using the voices of those with lived experience. We will also be continuing to raise awareness about the impact on not only the direct victim, but the wider circle around that victim – the parents, the siblings, the wider family and friends.
Recovery: It is though the vehicles of innovation, education and advocacy, elevating the voice of those with lived experience that MCF influence the way protectors of children respond when a child has been harmed. We are developing models of intervention based on evidence-based practice that can be implemented at various points along the journey to recovery using the voices of those with lived life experience - ‘simple’ ways of making a difference.
Thank you for your ongoing support, thank you for the work you do, and we really do wish you a Happy New Year