Established in 1992, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation is a child protection charity specialising in the prevention of child sexual abuse. Staff are comprised of professionals with significant past experience in dealing with child sexual abuse and abusers, including ex-child protection police officers, probation officers, psychologists and social workers. Staff work with those who abuse, their victims and their families as well as with other professionals involved in responding to abuse.
The Parents Protect! website
We provide interventions to deal with the trauma of past abuse and treatment programmes to reduce the risk of future offending. Since 2002 the Foundation has focused more of its efforts on the prevention of child sexual abuse before it happens. We set up the Parents Protect! website, which arms parents and carers with the information they need to help keep their children safe from sexual abuse. It is visited by over 200,000 people from the UK each year. We deliver online safety training to children in primary and secondary schools, as well as to their parents and teachers, and we deliver Parents Protect! sessions for those who care for children and young people.
The confidential helpline
In 2002 we set up the child sexual abuse prevention campaign and helpline, Stop it Now! UK & Ireland. Since its inception, the confidential helpline has dealt with over 60,000 calls – 36% of which are from adults worried about the sexual behaviour of someone known to them, including partners, parents and children with worrying sexual behaviour. Over 40% of calls are from adults, mostly men, troubled about their own sexual behaviour, whether online or offline. As a child protection charity, our role is to understand the circumstances and concerns of all callers in order to help them make responsible decisions and take practical steps to prevent harm to children.
In October 2015 the Foundation launched a campaign to tackle the proliferation of people viewing online sexual images of children. Alongside conventional media and social media, the campaign used four short films to get messages to the public, especially men, about: the law relating to viewing online sexual images of children; the harm done to children in the creation and viewing of sexual images of under 18s; the consequences of getting arrested for such behaviour; the necessity of not starting such viewing, or of stopping if already started; and of the help available to stop and to stay stopped. The films have been viewed over 9 million times; calls to the Stop it Now! helpline have increased; and our online self-help resources (www.get-help.stopitnow.org.uk) have been accessed by over 29,000 individuals from the UK.
The Inform Plus psycho-educational programme
In 2016 over 1500 people contacted the Stop it Now! helpline concerned about their illegal online behaviour. During the same period some 300 men attended the Inform Plus psycho-educational programme, designed specifically for those who have accessed sexual images of children online. This 10 session groupwork or individual programme explores the different routes into offending; educates those attending about the harmful effects on the victims of both making and viewing these images and considers the risk of possible future offending and the steps needed to avoid this. Where individuals have additional needs they are directed to other services and resources.
More information about the Foundation can be found at www.lucyfaithfull.org.uk.
About the author
Elaine McConnell has a wealth of relevant professional experience gained in the fields of probation and criminal justice. Before becoming Chief Executive of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation she was Operational Director of the Hertfordshire Probation Trust where her leads included Circles of Support and Accountability as well as Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). She has a B.A.(Hons) in Community and Criminal Justice and an MSc in Leadership and Management in the Public Sector.
StopSo, looking at the issues raised by working with both sex offenders and survivors. Views expressed are those of the author not UKCP.