18 Sep Childline is helping young people spot the signs of peer-on-peer abuse in Essex
Childline is helping young people spot the signs of peer-on-peer abuse after it held 3,878 counselling sessions with young people concerned about the issue in 2017/18 – a 29% increase on the previous year.
But the NSPCC-run service said the scale of the problem could be much greater, as it is worried many children and teenagers do not understand that what has happened to them is abuse.
Childline has relaunched the #ListenToYourSelfie campaign to try to prevent peer-on-peer sexual abuse and to encourage those that have suffered it to speak up.
It is working with the International Centre for Child Protection, at the University of Kent, to promote the online tool ‘Looking Out for Lottie’.
Lottie’s story aims to help young people spot when a relationship might not feel quite right and to recognise early signs of grooming, through a series of social media posts, messages from her friends and private messages from boyfriend Jake.
The campaign also includes two short films based on real-life scenarios affecting young people. These videos are intended to support young people to understand the importance of consent and their right to say ‘no’ if anything makes them feel uncomfortable or anxious.
Young people who contacted Childline about peer-on-peer sexual abuse revealed a general lack of understanding about consent, with some feeling unsure about whether something is abuse if they are in a relationship.