Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 173 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 4.238 Primary protection involves collaborative, preventative action. Listening to the views of children and young people is critical in ensuring that the on-going development of protective efforts are relevant and beneficial. Exposure to risk of online sexual harm is a common experience. 4.239 Prevalence. A Crime Audit published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) in 2016 reported that 11.4% of recorded sexual incidents had a cyber- element to them, and a significant proportion of these involved children. 4.240 Education/Training. Children should access education that addresses online sexual harm before spending unsupervised time online. This should include information about why it occurs, the different forms it can take, how to identify it, its possible impacts, and what to do if it happens. Children need help to understand what constitutes harm within the context of peer relationships or existing online networks. The ‘normality’ of such occurrences can reduce awareness of the harm caused to individuals and the harm caused by creation of normative expectations, particularly sexual demands made in relation to girls. 4.241 Education around online sexual harm must be embedded in the school curriculum for children and young people. It is important that children and young people are supported in building their own resilience in the online world. Being online offers positive opportunities and avoidance-based messaging may be unhelpful. Schools are the most common source of learning about sexual harm, however family members, friends, peers and the media are also significant sources of learning. References for this section offer relevant resources and specific links. 4.242 Professionals involved in assessment and planning should develop a knowledge of online risks, the impact of technology on the lives of children and young people and the use of technology by parents and carers which may impact on children. This includes an awareness of the way technology, including spyware or equivalent, may be used abusively, to coerce and control. Professionals should consider the use technology from the child’s perspective, with a view to working together on plans relevant to the situation. 4.243 Response. In relation to youth-produced sexual imagery, staff: • must in any instance follow relevant agency protocol, listen to the child, and report to the designated child protection lead • must not view, download or share such imagery, or ask a child to share or download it – this is illegal . It is relevant to take note of who the child says has sent the image, who has seen it, and the relevant host website if known, as this information could help in taking steps to remove it • must, if the imagery has already been viewed, report this fact to the designated child protection lead • must not delete the imagery or ask the child to delete it • must not ask the child or children involved in the incident to disclose information regarding the imagery. This is the responsibility of the designated child protection lead • must not share information about the incident to other members of staff, the child or children involved or their, or other, parents and/or carers • must not say or do anything to blame or shame any child involved • must explain to the child that the material must be reported, and reassure the child that they will receive support and help