A Barnardo’s project worker has shared the harrowing story of a young girl who was groomed online as the charity highlights around 15% of girls and 5% of boys experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 16.
In the last year, Barnardo’s supported 2,670 children and 398 parents or carers through its Child Sexual Exploitation services.
The nature of the threat of child sexual abuse and exploitation is changing fast with new technologies like live-streaming, social media, gaming and the dark web providing new avenues to reach and abuse children.
This includes children like Emily whose story is told in a new Barnardo’s advert. Emily was groomed online and forced to send explicit photos and videos of herself to someone she believed was just a few years older than her. However, he was actually a 57-year-old man preying on a young vulnerable girl.
Emily is now receiving support from Barnardo’s to help her understand what happened to her and move on.
A Barnardo’s project worker, Jo, said: “I helped Emily to understand what had happened to her so she could begin to recover.
“This takes time and it’s so important that we can be there for each child who goes through this trauma for as long as it takes.”
Findings from a survey of our Child Sexual Abuse services revealed that 2 in 3 of the children and young people in this service were groomed online before they were sexually abused.****
Barnardo’s services offer a lifeline to children and young people who experience sexual abuse, such as counselling and therapy as well as support through court proceedings which may take place.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “Emily’s story is sadly just one example of the horrific abuse we see in our specialist services across the UK.
“Barnardo’s supports thousands of children who have been sexually abused to help them recover from the trauma they have experienced, keep them safe from further harm, and give them the best possible chance of a positive future.”
Barnardo’s is appealing for donations to help fund its child sexual exploitation services to help children like Emily. Visit www.barnardos.org.uk/messagefromjoto make a donation.