You may be aware of an explicit video involving two children which has been shared far and wide on social media and has been in the news this week.
Hampshire Constabulary has conducted a thorough investigation into these matters and a man has been charged with inciting a female aged 13-15 years to engage in sexual activity, making an indecent photograph of a child and distributing an indecent photograph of a child.
Both children, who are victims of serious crime, are being supported by specialist police officers and partner agencies. As these legal proceedings are ongoing, I would like to remind people not to speculate – especially on social media – as it may compromise the investigation.
The advice from the police remains the same, if children and young people receive this video on any social media platform, be it Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp or any other channel - they should delete it immediately and tell a trusted adult – a teacher or parent for example.
It’s really important that they understand that if they show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people, they could be committing a crime and we want to stop that happening. We have been clear that we do not want to criminalise children and that people won’t be in trouble if they’ve made a genuine mistake.
Sadly, we are seeing more offences where young people are being targeted by offenders who conceal their identities, and know where to go online to access and strike up false friendships with children and unfortunately, no one is immune to the dangers. Please discuss this with your children and encourage them to talk to you or another trusted adult if they have any worries or concerns. They can also call ChildLine if they really don’t feel comfortable talking to someone face-to-face.
If you have any concerns about the safety of your children online or would like to know more, there is further support and advice for children and parents available on the CEOP website http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
Detective Superintendent Rachel Farrell