CEOP victim blame a child in video to end child sexual exploitation
CEOP Command (formerly the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) is part of the UK National Crime Agency. It's mission statement involves the following
works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children and coordinates activity against these threats to bring offenders to account. We protect children from harm online and offline, directly through NCA led operations and in partnership with local and international agencies.
The CEOP command receives invaluable assistance from its partners and supporters in the UK and internationally, allowing us to do even more groundbreaking child protection work.
Unfortunately, this "ground-breaking work" involves producing the following video:
This video is supposedly to teach teenagers how to avoid being a victim of so-called revenge porn, but rather than holding the perpetrator accountable for committing a crime CEOP chose to blame the victim. In many ways, this video is a master class in victim blaming: it erases the (multiple) perpetrators and completely dismisses the valid distress of a child who sent an intimate photo to her boyfriend who then chose to share it with the world.
The video makes an excellent training tool for those working with teenagers helping them to identify rape myths and victim blaming language (and is already used in this manner by various professionals). Had CEOP developed the video for this purpose, then it would be an award-winning training tool. Instead, this video makes a mockery of much of CEOP's work. How can we trust an organisation that is meant to protect our children from online predators if they can not tell the difference between a victim and a perpetrator?
A video like this won't give victims faith they can access non-judgmental support. It tells them they will be blamed for being a victim of online sexual violence.
We would love to see CEOP remove this video or even release better guidance recognising the serious failings within the video but it's been available for quite a while now and numerous professionals have already raised concerns.
It's unfortunate that CEOP used their considerable budget and national media coverage to produce a video that holds teenage girls responsible for the behaviour of teenage boys and men. It's unfortunate that they have chosen to ignore concerns raised by professionals. All we can do now is keep making it clear that this type of victim blaming is unacceptable, offensive and makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.
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This is actually shocking. OK I understand that they want to encourage teenage girls to be aware that as soon as they send any photo anywhere, it is potentially public property, but the complete absence of discussion of the boys’ behaviours, along with the blaming tone that implies she is responsible for what her boyf does with her photos, is immoral and counter-productive.
The message is that if only she hadn’t sent the photos to him, all would have been OK. But the gap in that, is that when a teenage girl is in love and she’s seen this film, she just won’t make the connection between this guy on this video and the boy she’s in love with. “It won’t happen to me because my boyf isn’t stupid like that one” will be the thinking. So it won’t stop her sending a photo and the video hasn’t even attempted to address the abusive behaviour of the boy who sent the photo on and the one who uploaded it. That’s where the message needs to be concentrated, with the perpetrators of this abuse, because we’ve tried making girls responsible for boy’s behaviour for thousands of years and it’s not working out too well for us, is it?
Massive fail by people who you’d hope and expect would understand the issues an awful lot better than this.
And another thing. Why have they wasted so much money on a media message which targets potential victims of this abuse, instead of on potential perpetrators? It seems to me that the duty of CEOPS is not to blindly accept the misogynist attitudes in which teenage girls are trying to find a way to function, but to try and address those attitudes head on and change them. There doesn’t seem to be any questioning at all of the stigmatisation of the girl and the complete absence of stigma of the boys who have perpetrated abuse.
It’s such a disappointing use of public funds.