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Online Abuse advice

Online abuse advise for professionals working with young people

Sexual Communication with a child under the age of 16 – new offence

Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 inserts a new offence into the Sexual Offences Act 2003, at section 15A, criminalising sexual communication with a child.

This new classification criminalises conduct of an adult who intentionally communicates with a child under the age of 16 (whom the adult does not reasonably hold the belief for them to be aged 16 or over) with the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification if that communication is sexual in nature or it’s intent is to encourage that child to make a communication that is sexual.

Situations that will be covered by the offence include talking sexually to a child in an online chatroom, sexually explicit SMS text messages to a child along with inviting a child to communicate sexually ( whether the invitation itself is sexual or not ).

The new offence is designed to ensure that it does not criminalise ordinary social or educational interactions between children and adults or communications between young people themselves in an ever increasing age of technology and mobile communication and improves the law substantially as prior to this new offence, sexualised communication with children that was text based was not actually a criminal offence on its own unless paired with an actual attempt to meet up with a child.

From 3 April 2017, any adult caught breaking the law will face up to two years in prison and be automatically placed on the sex offenders register. The law will cover both online and offline communication, including social media, e-mail, and letters.

We live in an age where children live their lives through social media, so it's important that they are educated about how to stay safe online and parents are aware of their children's use of social media, sites and apps.





Online abuse


The UK Safer Internet Centre published advice for professionals who are concerned about cyberbullying. Resources include information on legal requirements for schools and colleges and links to online resources on bullying.

Source: UK Safer Internet Centre  Date: 15 November 2017


thin-u-know logo

Think U Know offers advice on internet safety - click on this link to go to their website

New Thinkuknow Professionals website - click here for the new website





Policies, tools and resources to keep you safe. Click here to go to their website



Stop it now logo

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation has launched a new campaign to deter people from viewing child abuse images online. The Stop it now resources include information and support to help users of online abuse images cope with difficult emotions and change their behaviour. Further information can be found on their website


Influence of images and videos in young people’s digital lives

The UK Safer Internet Centre has published a report looking into the role and influence of images and videos in young people’s digital lives and the influence this can have on their self-esteem, behaviour and emotions. Findings from a survey of 1,500 young people aged 8-17 years old in the UK include: 70% said they have seen images and videos not suitable for their age in the last year; 22% said that someone has posted an image or video to bully them; and 45% of 13-17 year olds have seen nude or nearly nude photos of someone they know being shared around their school or local community.

Date: 07 February 2017

Further information: Power of image report (PDF) 


Online safety guides

The UK Safer Internet Centre has launched a series of online safety guides for professionals working with children including social workers, healthcare professionals, residential care settings and governors/trustees. The guides provide tailored advice in a range of topics including: roles and responsibilities in relation to online safeguarding; understanding the latest technologies and trends; managing online safeguarding incidents; supporting children, young people, parents, carers. Click here

Date: 13 July 2017



May 2017 newsletter

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Ofsted Inspection

The Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board (BBSCB) is judged to be 'Good' in a report published today by Ofsted. For more details of the report and a statement by Jenny Myers, Independent Chair of BBSCB can be found here