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Alert from the National Crime Agency

The National Crime Agency has raised concerns following the recent rise in reporting of financially motivated sexual extortion (a type of online blackmail often known in the media as ‘sextortion’). Children and young people worldwide are being targeted.

This type of crime involves an adult offender (often from an organised crime group based overseas) threatening to release nude or semi-nude images and/or videos of a child or young person, unless they pay money, or meet another financial demand, such as purchasing a pre-paid gift card.

Victims of any age and gender can be targets, however a large proportion of cases have involved male victims aged 14-18. Nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind that this could potentially happen to any child. A child or young person is never to blame if they have been a victim. Offenders will have tricked, groomed and/or manipulated them into sharing an image. To find out more about online blackmail please visit CEOP Education’s parents and carers website.

The guidance given to schools to share with families is as follows:

Talk to your child

It is important to have frequent, open and non-judgmental conversations with your child about relationships, sex and being online to build trust and support them if something goes wrong.

Financially motivated sexual extortion should be included in those conversations. Here are some tips about how to approach this:

  1. Use Report Remove, a tool from Childline and the Internet Watch Your child can use this to remove images that have been shared or might be shared.
  2. Use Take It Down, a tool from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Your child can use this to remove or stop the online sharing of images or videos.
  3. Report directly to the platform or app that the incident has occurred on. For advice on how to report to major social media platforms, visit Internet Matters.

To learn more about what resources are available to help you support your child, visit the UK Safer Internet Centre.

What can I do if this has happened to my child?

If your child tells you that someone is trying to trick, threaten or blackmail them online:

 If it has already happened and your child has shared an image and sent money to someone exploiting them:

 Report any images or videos that have been shared: help your child to remove images that are online or prevent images being shared online by following these three steps:

Children and young people’s mental health may be negatively impacted by experiences of exploitation; you can find advice on looking after your child’s mental health from the NHS.

If you require further support, please do not hesitate to contact us at school. Information about our safeguarding team can be found on the following link – HERE.