Working together can prevent harm online

The Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ) and Barnardo’s Scotland have called for greater engagement with technology industries to prevent children being harmed online, in a joint research paper published on Safer Internet Day.

‘Over the Internet, Under the Radar: Prevention of Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Scotland’ also identifies the need for a national e-safety strategy in Scotland, and a clear assessment framework around technology.

The report describes the findings and recommendations from two seminars, attended by professionals who have encountered issues around adolescent risk taking behaviour online and e-safety.

It is supported by a literature review from Dr Ethel Quayle (Edinburgh University), which contextualises some of the debates that took place at the seminars against current research evidence.

During the seminars, anonymised cases relating to ‘sexting’, sexual exploitation online and downloading indecent images of children were discussed. The group explored examples of good practice as well identifying ‘pinch points’ in current processes and outlined the gaps in professional knowledge and practice.

Key findings included:

  • Significant gaps in relation to policy, guidance, training and practitioner support that impacted on initial responses and decision making, when young people get into trouble through their online behaviour, and impaired high quality assessment and intervention
  • Cases involving online risk taking behaviour often raised issues around values and foregrounded complex ethical concerns
  • There were significant gaps in relation to research around higher tariff adolescent behaviours online

Over the Internet, Under the Radar: Prevention of Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Scotland

Over the Internet, Under the Radar: Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in Scotland – a brief literature review

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University of Strathclyde
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