Today, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has launched two campaigns to tackle the rise in self-generated abuse imagery of young and teenage girls and raise awareness of the risks posed by online predators.
Backed by the UK Home Office and Microsoft, the ‘Gurls Out Loud’ campaign aims to empower young and teenage girls to take control and report inappropriate requests.
The ‘Home Truths’ campaign will share advice on how parents can talk to their children about the dangers online.
Both campaigns will teach young and teenage girls, and their parents how to spot the warning signs of online predators at work and seek help.
A campaign film has also been produced which highlights the ways in which predators are now targeting young girls and tricking and coercing them into sharing self-generated sexual abuse imagery.
The IWF’s annual report reveals that 11 – 13 year old girls are increasingly at risk of grooming and coercion at the hands of online predators.
In 2020, the IWF confirmed 68,000 cases of self-generated imagery, which accounts for nearly half (44%) of the imagery IWF took action on last year. New analysis shows that the victims in 80% of these cases were 11 – 13 year old girls.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, chief executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: “The scale of the problem is appalling, and our fear is without intervention it will get worse, and more and more girls will fall victim to this pernicious and manipulative form of abuse.
“This is a pivotal time. With more people spending more time online, predators are finding new ways to contact and manipulate children who are, in many cases, a captive audience at home with their devices. Lockdown has made this worse.
“Some of the campaign is shocking. But the threat and the abuse is shocking. We don’t want to frighten people, but we do want to build resilience to the threat of self-generated sexual abuse of children. We want to help teenage girls to recognise the actions that constitute self-generated sexual abuse as abuse.
“We want them to feel empowered to take control, and to understand how to deal with inappropriate requests and report them to a trusted source.”
For more information about Gurls Out Loud, click here.
Details about the Home Truths campaign can be found here.