Men seeking help in Warwickshire to stop viewing sexual images of children more than doubles - The Leamington Observer

Men seeking help in Warwickshire to stop viewing sexual images of children more than doubles

Leamington Editorial 25th Feb, 2020   0

THE NUMBER of men in Warwickshire seeking help to stop viewing sexual images of children has more than doubled.

National helpline and self-help website Stop It Now! reports 309 men in the county contacted the charity last year – a 112 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

The UK’s first confidential helpline supporting men worried about their own sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviour towards children also saw numbers rise sharply nationally.

The surge in men contacting the helpline follows the charity’s recent campaigning efforts to tackle online viewing of sexual images of under 18s by highlighting the consequences for all involved and sign-posting to resources to help them learn to control and stop their thoughts and behaviours.

Stop It Now! director Donald Findlater said: “Tens of thousands of men in the UK are viewing and sharing sexual images of under 18s – these men are our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. Most are adults, but a significant proportion are teenagers.

“Many of these men started viewing this illegal material as part of their adult pornography habit, somehow not noticing or perhaps caring that these were images of children being abused. Some don’t know the law and need it spelling out. A few are struggling with a long-standing sexual interest in children and think that looking at ’only pictures’ is a way of containing that interest.

“Whoever they are, they need to know this behaviour is illegal, that children are harmed by it, that serious consequences await those involved in it; but that our helpline and website give anonymous, and confidential support and advice to stop and stay stopped. Friends, family and colleagues need to know this too – so they notice and do something.

Ch Con Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on child protection, is backing the work of Stop It Now!

He said: “Accessing these images is not a victimless crime and viewing them creates more demand for these appalling offences. We are arresting more offenders than ever before – at least 500 people a month – and our tools for investigating and tracking down those responsible are the best they have ever been. We are committed to targeting the perpetrators of these crimes and bringing them to justice. The consequences of being caught are huge and include losing your job, your family life, being imprisoned and registered as a sex offender.

“Anyone who is having inappropriate thoughts about children should seek help from Stop It Now!, otherwise they should expect a visit from police officers.”

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