The Thames Valley Police are currently campaigning against Hidden Harm and their message is simple – Open your eyes to abuse.
It could be happening in your community so if you suspect it, report it.
They believe everyone has a role to play in keeping people safe from harm, no matter who they are or how old they are. Information the police receive from the public is vital to ensuring they identify crimes, protect victims and bring offenders to justice.
This March they campaign is raising awareness of online child abuse.
Online child abuse - suspect it, report it!
The internet is a great resource young people can use to socialise. It presents us all with new opportunities every day. However, this causes a rapid change in how we see the web and the world. Some young people (and adults!) may struggle to keep up.
Usually this does not cause a problem. But sometimes there are cases where children are targeted by adults via popular and trending social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. Online child abuse occurs rarely but should be taken seriously to prevent harm to young people in society.
Thames Valley Police is sharing these messages about Online Child Abuse:
‘Any child with access to the internet can be at risk of online abuse, regardless of their age, background or gender’
‘Risk of online abuse to children can come from people they know, as well as strangers’
‘Most victims trust their abuser and don’t realise that they are being abused or are too scared to tell anyone’
More about the Hidden Harm Campaign
Hidden Harm is the abuse of a person or people that is undetected and unreported. This abuse does not have to be physical, it can be emotional, psychological or financial abuse also. Throughout October of 2017, Oxford City Council joined Thames Valley Police to raise awareness of modern day slavery, providing training to teach people on the signs of modern slavery and what to do if they had a suspicion that it was happening. Now they are concentrating on Online child abuse; more information is available on all of the different kinds of hidden harm on the Thames Valley Police website.
- Modern slavery
- Online child abuse
- Honour based abuse
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Domestic abuse
- Hate crime
We challenged our work experience student Aaron to come up with some rules young people can use to protect themselves from online child abuse on two favourite csocial networking sites.
5 tips for young people when using Snapchat
- Never add anyone as a friend who you do not know.
- Never give out any personal information on Snapchat as people might screenshot it and send it to other people who you do not know without you knowing.
- Set your profile so that it cannot be seen by people who are not your friend so that you don’t encourage strangers to add you.
- If you think someone is trying to harm you by texting you or sending you pictures, make sure you save the chat and then seek advice on what to do next from websites or family members.
- Make sure you report anyone who you think may be trying to cause harm to ensure that they are not able to continue causing you or anyone else harm.
5 tips for young people when using Instagram
- Always set your profile to private so strangers can’t view your profile.
- Only accept follow requests from people you know.
- Block any strangers who try to send you direct messages
- If they are breaking the sites terms and conditions report them, to ensure that they do not continue to try to harm you or other young people.
- Never give out any personal information on your profile as people can then give it out without you knowing.
By Work Experience student Aaron Thapar
Whatever social networking site you are using, if you suspect you or anyone you know is being targeted or abused by somebody else online, then take action. You can report in all kinds of different ways.
Thames Valley Police have made this video about one girl's experience of online abuse, and how her abuser was caught and sent to jail.