The explosion of online child sexual abuse (CSA) is a very serious threat to society. For victims and their families, the effects of CSA last a lifetime. Tackling abuse is of the highest priority for Police Scotland.
Creating a national campaign targeting men who groom online, Police Scotland worked with charity Stop It Now! They help men identify and address the root causes of criminal behaviour to prevent abuse.
Police Scotland undertook detailed research, assisted by Stop It Now!, to gain insight into the audience. Using academic studies, crime reports and interviews with perpetrators, the objective was to understand offender psychology and identify the messages that would motivate behaviour change.
The specified aim of the campaign was to prevent online grooming by directing men to the resources and help provided by Stop It Now! on its website. Digital paid-for channels were selected. These are the environments offenders inhabit, while offering a direct route to the online help available.
A film was commissioned as the best means of engaging with the audience. Men are emboldened by the anonymity of online spaces. We placed a man in a busy real world scenario, where his conversation in with a 12-year-old girl, mirroring online grooming, is truly shocking.
Outcomes included a 200% increase in visitors to specialist content specifically for men identifying they have a problem. Visitors to the website from Scotland increased by 7,700%. Page views increased by 1,266%. There was an 18% increase in calls to the helpline. 500,000 saw the film.