Launching our pioneering website Shore to help teenagers tackle harmful sexual behaviour

26 September 2023

Today we are proud to announce the launch of Shore – a safe space for teenagers worried about sexual behaviour. 

Designed especially for young people aged 13-18, as covered in the Guardian today, our Shore website is a dedicated and confidential resource tailored for teenagers concerned about their own or someone else’s sexual thoughts and behaviour.

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Why do we need Shore?

Research shows that under-18s are responsible for one-third of sexual offences against young people in the UK. Shore’s mission is to address this pressing public health issue by offering accessible, practical advice and dedicated support for young people concerned about harmful sexual behaviour (HSB). 

The problem of HSB and young people has been growing for some time. 

In June 2020, a young woman called Soma Sara began sharing on Instagram her experiences of rape culture. An overwhelming number of young people replied to share similar experiences, highlighting the extent of sexual harassment and abuse in UK schools and colleges. In response, Soma founded Everyone’s Invited, a charity providing an anonymous platform for survivors to share their stories and delivering specialist education in schools to promote healthy relationships. 

Since launching our live chat in 2020, our Stop It Now! helpline saw a 32% increase in contacts from under-18s worried about their sexual thoughts or behaviour, showing the importance of a dedicated resource like Shore. Demand for our Inform Young People programme, which supports young people who have got into trouble for their online sexual behaviour, has also surged to an unprecedented level.  

Added to this, we have also seen a 26% increase in the number of adults contacting us concerned about the behaviour of someone under 18.     

Innovative website

“We have designed this innovative website, especially for teens, to provide a safe space for them to learn about sexual relationships and behaviour,” says Rachel Haynes, Senior Practitioner at The Lucy Faithfull Foundation and Clinical Lead for Shore. “Our aim is to offer reliable information and advice to educate and protect young people from harmful sexual behaviour, both online and offline.”  

“To do this, we conducted research with young people, parents and professionals to find out what concerns them, where they currently go for support and what they think we should develop. Young people told us they want clear, reliable information they can trust and confidential and anonymous ways to seek support,” added Rachel. 

To create a safe space that young people trust, it is crucial that we listen to and learn from them. That is why we’ve worked with young people at every step of the way in the planning, design and development of Shore.  

Every year our helpline and programmes support growing numbers of young people and their families in hugely challenging circumstances. They’ve told us what they need to build better futures and we’ve put that into the design of Shore. We want to thank all the young people who have been involved in helping us create this unique resource. 

“Shore offers an engaging and interactive experience, including a chat and email service for teenagers to seek advice and support on a variety of issues, including harmful sexual behaviour, the law, online risks and concerns about friends,” said Rachel. 

All of this has been tested with young people and they’ve told us what works for them.  

A team of experts

Since 1993 we have supported young people affected by HSB. Our Young People’s Team is made up of experts from diverse fields such as education, social work, probation service, and healthcare and is well-equipped to provide comprehensive guidance and support to those seeking assistance. 

Rachel said, “The team has successfully worked with children and young people who have displayed HSB both online and offline, helping them to understand the impact of their behaviour and make positive choices for a healthier future.”  

Since 2011 we have delivered our Inform Young People Programme, an educational programme for young people who have got into trouble for inappropriate use of technology and the internet. These issues can include sending nudes (sexting), possessing and/or distributing sexual images of children and other issues such as viewing adult pornography. 

We’ve taken what we’ve learnt and what young people have told us over the last 30 years and created Shore – the next step in our fight against harmful sexual behaviour in young people.  

Game changer

Deborah Denis, our Chief Executive, believes Shore will be a game changer for young people. 

“This pioneering initiative is of the only resources of its kind in the world,” she said. “It will help to bridge the gap between the growing number of young people displaying harmful sexual behaviour and the lack of available services to support them to stop.” 

“This ground-breaking new resource will provide those young people with the safe space they need to talk about harmful sexual behaviour – to use their voices which for too long have been left unheard,” continued Deborah. 

Shore will also provide parents with the peace of mind that their children are receiving advice from clinical experts who are leaders in their field. 

Finally, professionals working with young people can rest assured that Shore is on hand to assist and help provide a framework for dealing with HSB issues when they arise. 

Find out more

For more information about: 

Shore and its services, please visit https://shorespace.org.uk 

Our Everyone’s Safer project to tackle harmful sexual behaviour in schools: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/professionals-looking-for-advice/help-for-schools/ 

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