A groundbreaking initiative aimed at improving support and protection for children who have suffered online sexual abuse and their families has been launched by BT and a North Yorkshire-based charity.
BT and the Marie Collins Foundation (MCF), based near Ripon, announced a new partnership in London to pilot a unique programme that will eventually train front-line workers across the UK to help children and their families who have suffered online sexual abuse and exploitation.
The new initiative called CLICK: Path to Protection is the first of its kind and is aimed at ensuring that every professional working with child victims of online abuse understands their individual role and those of colleagues in other related organisations.
Placing the needs of abused children and their families at the heart of any intervention, the aim will be to enable professionals to carefully plan how to approach each case from discovery to recovery.
Speaking at the launch held at the BT Tower, Tink Palmer, chief executive of the Marie Collins Foundation and a world renowned child online safety expert, said: “This initiative will provide an invaluable resource for front-line workers working with children who have been abused and their families.
“Online abuse is a growing challenge which requires a very specific response in order to ensure victims are able to recover with the right support.
“The chance to partner with BT, a multi-national communications provider, is a huge boost for a charity such as the Marie Collins Foundation. We are thrilled to be able to use this partnership to make sure that children and their families are continually being placed at the centre of any intervention that takes place as a result of abuse or exploitation online.”
The pilot will consist of four projects in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which will be tested and evaluated by University Campus Suffolk and then refined for rollout.