Suspecting or discovering that a loved one has been accessing sexual images of children is a distressing and confusing experience. How you feel and how you respond may depend on the person’s relationship to you and on how you came about this information, as well as your own personal circumstances and whether the person’s behaviour is already known to the authorities.
Many aspects of the process of coming to terms with a loved one’s accessing of sexual images of children are related to the emotional fallout. However, some of the anxieties may be helped by seeking further information and advice.
If you are even slightly concerned that someone you love may be accessing sexual images of children online, you can call the Stop It Now! free and confidential helpline - 0808 1000 900. Our trained operators will listen to your concerns and offer information and support. If you prefer, please e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The helpline offers ongoing support and information to all adults who are concerned about their own thoughts or behaviour towards children, including illegal internet use, or who are concerned about an adult or child who is close to them. Information about our Inform+ programme for Internet offenders, our Inform programme for family members and friends and our Inform Young People’s programme, for those aged 18 and under, is available here.
Dealing with the consequences of a loved one’s actions is a lengthy and difficult process and Stop It Now! is there to help. For further information, please visit www.stopitnow.org.uk.
Our Parents Protect website www.parentsprotect.co.uk contains advice, information and resources to use with children, to help all adults to recognise and to prevent child sexual abuse. It includes
- Internet safety – how to keep children safe online and
- How to create a family safety plan
The Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to advise you of your options and signpost you to the best source of legal and practical help where applicable. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
Take time to make vital decisions…….
- Do I report him to the police?
- What does this mean for our relationship?
- What do I say to the children/my friends….?
The discovery that someone close to us has been accessing sexual images of children online has been described by one partner as ‘being hit by a tsunami, such was its emotional and practical impact'. Difficult and sometimes life-changing decisions need time for thought and reflection, often at a time when both are in short supply and when immediate and practical issues are often clamouring for attention. But you need not face this alone. Talking to someone who understands and can help you make sense of what has happened can be a ‘life saver’.