Technology and vulnerable users   tink palmer (1)
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Technology and vulnerable users   tink palmer (1) Technology and vulnerable users tink palmer (1) Presentation Transcript

  • INSAFE CONFERENCEPROMOTING INTERNET SAFETY GLOBALLY: CONNECTING GENERATIONS Parallel sessions 16th May, 2012 TECHNOLOGY AND VULNERABLE USERS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES SEXUAL ABUSE ONLINE – NEW LEARNING FOR PRACTITIONERS Tink Palmer CEO, Marie Collins Foundation Cyprus, May 2012 Marie Collins Foundation
  • The Marie Collins Foundation• Work in partnership with other agencies, both within the UK and internationally, to raise awareness regarding the abuse of children and young people via the internet and mobile technologies.• Offer services to children, young people and their families affected in this way.• Provide training for professionals who work directly and indirectly with children and young people – social workers, teachers, health professionals and police. Also, CPS, the Judiciary, members of parliament, ISPs and MNOs Marie Collins Foundation
  • The Marie Collins Foundation• Offer consultancy to professionals assisting children and young people in their recovery from harms they have experienced via the new technologies.• Lobby and influence governments and international stakeholders to better protect children and young people when online and to provide appropriate responses to their recovery needs when harmed.• Engage the media in responsible and informed debate regarding the impact of abuse on children and young people when harmed via the internet and mobile technologies. Marie Collins Foundation
  • A brief look at four dimensions of the issue of sexual abuse online• Some findings from clinical practice• Some thoughts about which children are vulnerable online• How can recovery services help?• What research studies might help us gain better, evidenced based practice? Marie Collins Foundation
  • Referrals• Children viewing adult pornography• Children abused through prostitution and/or trafficking – abusers use the Internet and mobile phones to control their victims• Children made the subjects of abusive images• Children groomed online and abused offline and/or online• Children made the subjects of abusive images, groomed online and abused online and or offline Marie Collins Foundation
  • Referrals• Young people displaying sexually harmful behaviours online• Young people presenting as gay, lesbian or bi- sexual online who are groomed online and sexually abused offline• Children living in a household where a family member has been apprehended for viewing child abuse images Marie Collins Foundation
  • What are the findings from clinical practice? Children groomed online for sexual abuse online and/or offline – girl victims1. Victims are most unlikely to report the abuse that had occurred2. Most say they would not have told anyone of the abuse had it not been discovered3. 5 reasons for not telling  Highly sexualised nature of the language used by the young women,  Feelings of complicity  Lying about their age  Emotional dependency on online “boyfriend”  Fear of peer group and family responses to what they had done – nb. “grooming”4. All gave minimal information on initial interview with police – many denied5. Talking in any detail about what happened is very difficult6. Shame, guilt, feeling conned, broken hearted7. Formed online relationships with the offenders when 12/138. Age when abuse was discovered 14/159. Very few present with a history of troubled backgrounds10. Recovery is a long haul – role of family cannot be under-estimated Marie Collins Foundation
  • Children groomed online for sexual abuse online and/or offline – boy victims• Boys presenting as gay and bi-sexual  Few facilities in the off-line environment for them – the internet is their refuge  12/13 when first encountered abusers  Relief that there’s someone else “like them”  Eager and needy for relationships  Multiple engagements with abusing men  Reinforcement given through experiencing sex and a belief that their “friend/lover” understands them whereas their family and others around them don’t  Push-Pull dynamic  Maintaining consistent care and safeguarding of the child is time and personnel intensive  This leads to a “splitting” of professional viewpoints regarding how the situation should be managed  Continuity and consistency of key workers is essential – they can act as role models  Start coming out of the abyss around 16/17 years Marie Collins Foundation
  • Young men affected by adult pornography• Impacts on girls too- exhibitionism, expectations and the reality of these• Availability, extent and nature of what they have viewed• Length of time they view pornography• Start viewing – 11/12• Key : their current developmental stage and the impact such imagery has on the way they think, feel and act• Consequential impact on brain development• Increase in referrals over the past 5/6 years  Portman Clinic – John Woods (November 2010) – referrals for problematic internet usage – 0% 1997 to 26% 2010 – adult pornography addiction being one of the major reasons for referral• Problems presented by the young men  Intimacy deficits  Unrealistic sexual expectations of their partner  Inability to show empathy when in engaging in sexual activity – such lack of empathy often doesn’t match the young men’s personal presentation when not involved in sexual activity  Relationship breakdown Marie Collins Foundation
  • Children made the subject of abusive images• The impact of being the subject of abusive images = a recipe for non-disclosure  Silencing/denial• Due to  Shame  Guilt  Seen “to be doing it”  “Smile please”  Nature of the relationship with the offender• New recovery issues  Impotence regarding disclosure  Shame  Responsibility  Non-resolution of the abuse experienced• Research – very little from a victim perspective• Data from NCMEC from 1998 – 31st Dec. 2010 regarding relationship of identified victims to the abuser – 3,358 identified victims – 66% known to the child, 14% coerced through online enticement, 14% self-produced, 3% Human trafficker, 3% unknown to the child – un- established relationships Marie Collins Foundation
  • Young people’s risky and/or harmful behaviours online• Harmful behaviours  Downloading abusive images of children*  Placing images of people/or themselves online  Sexual solicitation  Sexting  Bullying• Concerning behaviour or just experimenting?• Issues  Placing themselves and others at risk  Needs supersede rules for young people  Problems with labelling their behaviour  Lack of understanding of developmental issues – brain development, emotional development,  Increase in reports to Helplines and referral services  No evidence based intervention models Marie Collins Foundation
  • Barriers to effective listening and to asking the relevant questions The Adult Own pain, experiences, Personal memories, sexuality. View of child/alleged abuser . Values, attitudes, beliefs Feelings Pity, Horror, Shame, Distress, Embarrassment, Anger, Disgust, Uncertainty Doubts Will I cope? Will I make it worse? Is it true? What next?Professional Practicalities ( time, other responsibilities etc.), Knowledge, Skills, Confidence, Legislation, Language, Support available, Possible repercussions.
  • Which children are vulnerable online? Vulnerability to grooming, impacts of adult pornography and displaying risky and/or harmful behaviours online currently appears to be less about being seen as a vulnerable child off-line and more about the stage of development of the child – namely pubescent - starting around 11 to 12 years of age From practice findings, for many of these child victims there are few common indicators of vulnerability. The impact of these abusive behaviours on child victims, however, appears to be universal Vulnerability to being made the subjects of abusive images may affect children of any age, sex and ethnicity – little is known about the demographics of these children More evidence is available from one or two sources regarding who these children are at risk from – the majority being people known to them The making of abusive images is an offline crime and mirrors what we already know about who are the principle sexual abusers of children – those known to them Marie Collins Foundation
  • How can recovery services help?Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!• Currently not meeting the safeguarding and recovery needs of children. We need to review  How we manage the disclosure/discovery stage of the intervention process- This has implications for police and social practice – never underestimate the impact of disclosure on the child victim and their family  How we carry out the ABE interview of the child  How we address the new issues facing victims of internet abuse – such as non- resolution and the silencing  What support and information we give to the parents/carers of the victims  How we empower professionals working with children to feel confident in dealing with the possibilities that children in their charge may be experiencing abuse online  How we assist and treat children with sexually harmful behaviours online – contextualising their behaviours within their developmental stage and treating them as children first  How we empower this population through primary, secondary and teriary prevention programmes Marie Collins Foundation
  • What research studies need to take place to build up an evidence base? 1. Studies from a victim perspective regarding the victims of child abuse images - age, sex, ethnicity and the circumstances in which these images are made. To achieve this we need a more rigorous systematic collection of information through out the world which will allow measurement of changes in these demographical details as time goes on (Quayle and Jones) 2. Studies of the victims’ experience, including the differential impacts on them when the internet is involved in their abuse, to better inform practitioners helping in their recovery 3. Studies of the impact on their mental health for those who have accessed adult pornography from an early age 4. Studies on the impact on carers/parents and wider family members when a child within the family has been groomed online to ascertain how best to support them 5. Studies of how young people engage in viewing abusive images of children – what lead them to do so in the first instance, what maintained their interest and what might assist in their desisting from such beahaviours• Improvement in date collection through synchronisation of dateato be collated, a review of what is noted in our Criminal justice statistics etc........ Marie Collins Foundation
  • tinkpalmer@mariecollinsfoundation.org.uk Mobile; 07825 501180 Tink Palmer CEO Marie Collins Foundation Marie Collins Foundation