Our 2020/21 Annual Report: how we work to protect children from sexual abuse

3 November 2021

We’ve just published our 2020/21 annual report, which includes highlights from the past year and outlines our future plans.

Since 1992, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation has worked to prevent child sexual abuse by helping the public and professionals play their part in keeping children safe. Lockdown brought an increased risk of sexual abuse to some children as they spent less time with protective adults, and more time unsupervised online or with those who might want to cause them harm.

Our Stop It Now! helpline has seen its busiest year, and our professional training, assessments and interventions, self-help websites, and other online and offline services have helped us to reach more people than ever before.

Read our annual report or executive summary for full details on our achievements and our plans for the future. Here are the highlights.

How we keep children safe

Providing free, confidential help and support through the Stop It Now! helpline, live chat, and secure messaging service

  • We helped 7,300 people who contacted us through almost 14,200 calls, chats, and emails – more than ever before.
  • We launched a new live chat service in September, and to the end of March 2021, 306 people used the service.
  • 97% of callers agreed to one or more actions to protect a child, and 92% of repeat callers told us they had taken these actions.

Next year, we will expand the reach of the live chat through a translation button and work with organisations and communities that could benefit from this service, such as people who are hard of hearing.

Helping people achieve positive change and live free of offending

  • In 2020/21, 176 men from across England and Wales attended the Inform Plus group programme, for those who have offended online and 98% of participants said that they were making good or maximum progress on reducing their risk of reoffending.
  • We rolled out our Engage Plus programme, for men who have had sexual conversations online, and worked with 28 men, up from 12 the previous year.

Next year, we will use our online delivery feedback from service users to guide our next steps in how we reach more beneficiaries with programmes that have an impact.

Supporting young people

  • We worked with 72 young people on the Inform Young People course, and 13 young people in single face-to-face sessions.
  • We published a harmful sexual behaviour prevention toolkit to share prevention messages and point parents and carers to sources of information and support, which was downloaded over 3,000 times.

Next year, we will complete the development of and launch new resources for young people in partnership with young people, parents and carers and organisations that work with children and families, including a new website.

Giving family and friends support and advice

  • Our Family and Friend’s Forum, online support for those impacted by a loved one’s online offending, saw 7,404 posts made by 622 active users. In total, the forum had 33,171 visitors.
  • We worked with a total of 170 family members of people who had offended online as part of our Inform programme. 95% of participants said they felt less isolated after the programme.

Next year, we will work with our academic colleagues on the completion of the Family and Friends Forum evaluation and in making changes to the forum based on their recommendations.

Working in Scotland

  • We worked with Police Scotland to launch the #GetHelpOrGetCaught social media campaign, to deter online grooming. The campaign ran for four weeks and brought nearly 64,000 users to our website. It has since won ‘Campaign of the Year’ at the 2021 Scottish Charity Awards.
  • We worked with 105 people from Scotland worried about their own sexual thoughts, feelings or behaviours towards children, including online behaviour, and undertook more than 1,000 one-to-one sessions.

Next year, we will learn from and build on our ROSA project which provides early intervention for young people who have got into trouble because of their sexual behaviour online, and we’ll continue working with Police Scotland to reach even more adults at risk of offending.

Working in Wales

  • We worked with over 900 professionals and families in 60 different sessions and webinars. 97% of parents who attended a public education session said they felt supported to protect the people that matter to them.
  • We started our government-funded early intervention project, and despite Covid-19 putting restrictions on the delivery of the project, we completed interventions with 12 families in Wales.

Next year, we will continue the delivery of our government-funded project ‘Keeping children safe from sexual abuse’ to reach more families and professionals to protect children and young people. This includes the launch of our bilingual toolkit for professionals and new resources for parents and carers of vulnerable children.

Preventing people from offending online

  • We worked with MindGeek to create a deterrence message that would appear for anyone who searched for child sexual abuse on its adult entertainment sites globally. From launch in early February 2021 and March 2021, nearly 22,000 users internationally clicked through to our website after seeing this message.
  • We also completed the sixth phase of our campaign to deter online child sexual abuse, which was covered on BBC News online, Woman’s Hour, and The Guardian.

Next year, in collaboration with the Internet Watch Foundation, we will launch a chatbot on MindGeek’s adult entertainment sites, for anyone searching for illegal online material. The automated pop-up will engage with users to deter them from accessing such content and point them towards the Stop It Now! helpline and self-help resources.

Giving professionals the knowledge they need to keep children safe from sexual abuse

  • This year we held nearly 60 training events for over 800 professionals in the police, education sector, local authorities, probation services and the NHS. 95% of participants said they would recommend our training to colleagues.
  • Our skilled team also provided 215 expert assessments and 89 pieces of intervention for children, young people and adults for the family course system, local authorities and others.

Next year, we will explore partnerships with other providers to reach even more people and offer a mixture of in-person and online training.

Working with international partners

  • This year, our international ECSA project entered its seventh year, sharing knowledge on child sexual abuse prevention with partners across the world. Covid-19 restrictions stopped us from working face-to-face with partners in Bulgaria and Brazil, but we were still able to work with Professor Lorraine Radford to evaluate our work in these countries.
  • Our ECSA website continues to be updated and our intervention database now includes 250 interventions from around the world.

Next year, we will share the lessons from the evaluation with our international partners in order to learn from and support other organisations in their prevention strategies.

We need your support

Despite a difficult year, we’re incredibly grateful for the continued support from our fundraisers and donors, which has allowed us to help families and professionals keep children safe.

Help us to continue delivering and expanding our services in order to reach more people and prevent child sexual abuse. Please consider donating today.

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