A new directory to help family and friends of people arrested for online sexual offending access support

28 February 2024

In 2021, there were over 850 arrests across the UK for viewing sexual images of under-18s every single month.

Many of the people arrested have children of their own or contact with children in their wider family. Compared to people convicted of other forms of sexual offending, research suggests that people who view sexual images of under-18s are more likely to be married and have children.

“It is very rare that anyone is aware of a person’s offending before it comes to the attention of the police and the first these partners and children know of the offending usually comes after a knock at the door,” says Deborah Denis, CEO of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

“They are secondary victims of this offending and often left traumatised by the shock what a loved one has done,” added Sheila Taylor, CEO of the NWG Network. “They don’t know what to do next and how to find support.”

Support to build a future

To help these families, we’ve teamed up with other child protection organisations and law enforcement agencies, including the NWG Network, Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse, Marie Collins Foundation and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

We’ve produced an easy access service directory to guide partners or family members of people who have been arrested for viewing sexual images of under-18s to find support and information.

“Receiving support for the psychological and practical repercussions of such a discovery are important for all of those in the home,” says Vicki Green, CEO of the Marie Collins Foundation.

“Families need help to make sense of such shocking news, to manage the stigma around this form of harm, and with the practical implications including employment, finances, housing and managing the statutory services involved,” Tink Palmer, chair of the advisory group, added.

As some family members may want to also find services for the person who has offended, it includes details of relevant support.

If you are working with a family needing support, or you need support yourself, the list of services is available here.

Find out more

Our anonymous Stop It Now helpline can support you if you or a loved one needs help to stop offending online. Our experienced advisors won’t judge and will tell you about the specific follow on services that we can provide to you and your loved one.

Want to support our work to prevent child sexual abuse? Find out how.

Back to top