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2022 Discovery to Recovery

2022 MCF Conference: From Discovery to Recovery – Technology-Assisted Child Sexual Abuse – Sharing the Challenges and Considering Solutions

2022 saw the return of our first face to face conference in London, supported by BT, since the covid pandemic. 

After the opening address from our CEO Vicki Green and BT’s Helen Burrows we heard from Chloe Setter, WeProtect Global Alliance who highlighted the threat that Technology-Assisted Child Sexual Abuse poses to children and how, by working together, we can make the internet a safer place. Baroness Shields reinforced this message through her pre-recorded speech.

The focus of the conference was seeing the challenges and solutions through the eyes of victims and survivors, so it was important to MCF that the voices of lived experience were amplified from start to finish. Thus, the next session from Day 1 was an input from MCF's Lived Experience Group, which our CEO Vicki Green calls the LEG's of MCF.

Technology-Assisted Child Sexual Abuse knows no boundaries and therefore tackling it effectively needs a global response. To that end, the conference also heard from Melissa Stroebel from Thorn and Miguel Garcia Egido from the End Violence Against Children Partnership.

As we returned on Day 2 we heard from Dr Sharon Cooper about the long-term impact both emotionally and physically on victims and survivors of sexual abuse. She focused on the importance of developing practice to see how the bodies response to trauma can lead to physical ill health and how we must look to treat and support victims more holistically. 

One way of preventing technology-assisted child sexual abuse from happening is by deterring those who choose to perpetrate this crime. The conference heard from law enforcement agencies both nationally and internationally. They all spoke about how we are working to make it more difficult for people to abuse children along with the tools used and strategies they use.

Patrick Cronin from PA Consulting then introduced us to the world of virtual reality, something that participants had been able to experience for themselves throughout the two days by visiting the VR room PA Consulting set up. This keynote highlighted the potential for harm within a virtual world and how those working with children need to understand and be thinking about the impact of immersive abuse experiences on the mental health and wellbeing of children.

The conference closed as it started, with the voice of lived experience through a keynote with May Baxter-Thornton and Robbie Kent from the IICSA Inquiry. They told us about the importance of real victim and survivor participation, how this was central to the IICSA Inquiry, and influenced the way the Inquiry was conducted. It evidenced the true value of getting it right from the start and having the voices of lived experience as the foundation to any project. 

The conference was a great success with 100% of delegates agreeing that they would attend a MCF conference again and recommend it to colleagues. We also found 89% of attendees agreed that their practice would change as a result of what they heard during the conference. 

Throughout the two days MCF hosted a variety of breakout sessions and are grateful to the presenters for their time and for sharing their knowledge along with those who provided us with incredible keynote speeches. 

We look forward to seeing you at the next conference! 

‘Found it a brilliant 2 day event - with a wide variety of attendees from different organisations, coming together with a shared goal. People were very willing to share experiences, knowledge and insight - which is fantastic’. – Delegate

‘Lots of learning to take back to my team - I feel much better informed about the up and coming challenges to keeping CYP safe on-line and what is being done and what can bedone to better protect them’. – Delegate 


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