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Posted 19 September 2017

Tozers’ abuse claim specialist discusses online dangers for children: The real risk of criminalising our children

In a recent article published by the Daily Mail a 12-year-old girl is reported as being pressured by an online paedophile to send a topless picture of herself. Once the girl’s mother discovered the picture she immediately reported it to the police, rightly believing that the paedophile would be investigated and stopped. However, imagine the mother’s horror when she is informed that her daughter committed an offence and was under investigation. It is, unfortunately, the case that many parents still do not understand that anyone caught sending explicit pictures or videos, even if that person is a child, is committing an offence. An NSPCC survey found that only half of parents understood that children taking nude ‘selfies’ were committing a crime. The survey also found that although 2 out of 5 parents fear their child will be involved in sexting, most parents have not spoken to them about the risks.

It is often the case that a child, who may have been persuaded into sending a naked photograph then feels trapped in a spiralling situation. The child does not know how that image is being used, where it is going, and whether it will be posted on the internet and there is a real fear that the image will be on the internet forever without any hope of it being retrieved. Children need to understand and be educated about how to stay safe online. There are too many stories of young children believing they have no option but to take their own life, and that is unacceptable. In this case, the mother questioned whether she made the right decision about reporting the incident. As a parent myself, this is a completely understandable reaction but again the message here must be to educate and talk to your child.

I find the NSPCC website extremely informative and I have implemented some of their ideas about how to tackle, frankly embarrassing subjects with children. If this article achieves nothing else at least check out the website and their resources.

At Tozers Solicitors LLP we specialise in abuse claims and we have significant experience in obtaining compensation for the victims of abuse. We act for clients both in the South West and nationally.  Should you or a family member wish to discuss a potential claim, please call our specialist team for a free and confidential consultation.

Our offices are open Monday to Friday 8:45am to 5pm.


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