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Conference 2016

On the 28th June 2016 the MCF in partnership with BT hosted its second international conference to address the recovery needs of children sexual abused online.

The theme was very much setting the scene, identifying how we are tackling the issue of online abuse, and the many ways we are doing this.  Chief Constable Simon Bailey QPM, National Police Lead for Child Protection started the event by explaining the significant increase over the last 4 years in the Child Sexual Abuse investigation workload which the police were dealing with.  He expressed his fear that we were only dealing with the tip of the iceberg, and the internet was significantly increasing the online IIOC (Indecent Images of Children) threat.  This is an issue that can only be dealt with creatively, and one that need cross sector collaboration.

Internet Matters, UK Safer Internet Centre and the National crime Agency show cased the strategies they were using to raise awareness and educate parents, professionals and children alike about steps to reduce the likelihood of children being abused online.

The internet Watch Foundation explained how hash lists were being created to uniquely ‘fingerprint’ images so that they can be ‘plucked out’ like a needle in a haystack from all the images being shared online. Internet companies trust the IWF Hash List and can use the hashes with legal confidence.  Thousands of images will be added each week.

Lucy Faithfull Foundation shared information about the work they are doing to deter potential offenders, recognising that the best protection is stopping people from committing these offences in the first place.

Professor Ethel Quale from Edinburgh University shared her research on how the internet was enabling groomers, making this space easier for them to operate and achieve their goals. Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis shared her research on the impact of online sexual abuse on young people, highlighting the different vulnerabilities to and outcomes following online CSA, while Julia von Weiler from Innocence in Danger shared how to work with young people towards recovery.

MCF shared a brief synostosis and the evaluation of their ground-breaking Click Path to Protection training which had been independently evaluated by University of Suffolk with 94% saying they would recommend the training to other professionals.  This training brings all the above components into one training package that is available for all professionals.

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