The Lucy Faithfull Foundation response to the government’s online harms white paper
8 April 2019
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse. It works with entire families affected by or concerned about abuse including: adult male and female sexual abusers; young people with inappropriate sexual behaviours; victims of abuse and other family members; front-line workers and professionals.
In response to the government’s Online Harms White Paper, Michael Marett-Crosby, interim CEO of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, said:
“Ways to make the online world safer for children are urgently needed and The Lucy Faithfull Foundation welcomes all that the government is doing to achieve this. It is vital now that all who have the power to keep children safe turn these plans into reality.
“Technology companies have huge power – they can and must do more to tackle the supply side of child sexual abuse. But when abuse is a global problem there needs to be a global response. Tech companies are part of the answer but it cannot be for them alone to decide how to fix the huge threats faced by children in the online space. We must rely on governments to play their part.
“In The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, we work with young people whose online experience is leading them into risk, and into their own harmful sexual behaviours. A rapidly changing landscape brings new sites, apps and ways of communicating, so staying safe online is harder than ever. Governments, tech companies and others need to make it as easy as possible for parents and other responsible adults to show children how to make smart decisions.
“It’s also too easy to access child sexual abuse imagery online. Every day, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation works with men who want help to change their own illegal behaviour. It needs to be as easy as possible for the public to report illegal imagery and for tech companies to block access to and take down any platforms that host this material.
“Tackling child sexual abuse online and offline has to remain a priority for us all, and the ambitions expressed today by the government mustn’t be allowed to slip.
“Our vision as a charity is of a world where children can live free of the risk of abuse and exploitation. The online harms white paper takes a significant step forward in laying out how this might happen – now these aspirations must become reality. The Lucy Faithfull Foundation will play its part in achieving this. Others must do the same.”
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The Lucy Faithfull Foundation has run the Stop It Now! UK and Ireland confidential helpline since 2002, which aims to prevent child abuse by encouraging abusers and potential abusers to seek help and by giving adults the information they need to protect children safely. Stop It Now! works with the government, police forces and child protection agencies, to promote public education and prevent child sexual abuse, including through an indecent images of children deterrence campaign.