Sussex Police are supporting a leading child protection charity who aim to combat the growing demand for sexual images of children online.

The force supports UK child protection charity, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation. which aims to prevent people from viewing such illegal material in the first place; and to get them to stop if they have already started. Through the Stop It Now! deterrence campaign, confidential helpline (0808 1000 900) and website, it can help people address their online behaviour and stop looking at these harmful and illegal images.

Viewing and sharing indecent images of children online is a serious and growing problem. The National Crime Agency estimated the figure of people involved in the UK to be some 300,000.

Police already work actively to detect and prosecute people downloading and sharing sexual images of children online. Sussex and other forces have specialist teams who track down those who viewing, share and making indecent images of children.

Detective Inspector Andy Harbour of Sussex Police said; “The experienced investigators in our specialist Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) target suspects on a daily basis and we will robustly identify and bring to justice such people wherever possible.

“We are talking here about images depicting serious child abuse and the circulation of the images around the Internet perpetuates and encourages that abuse. Every time images are shared that child is re-victimised and that must stop!”

“The offenders need to understand the harm this activity causes to all children and the consequences of their actions which include arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, break up of family and being put on the sex offenders register”

“Sussex Police take an active role in raising the public’s awareness of this growing problem and “The ‘Stop It Now’ campaign is an important reminder that there are ways in which people can get help to address their behaviour before my team come knocking at the door.”

Donald Findlater, Director of the Stop It Now! helpline, said“Tens of thousands of people in the UK are viewing sexual images and videos of children online. They aren’t all the stereotypical loners of popular imagination – they are our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.

“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 and family need to know this too – so they notice worrying or illegal behaviour at an early stage and do something about it. They don’t have to deal with it alone – we can help.”

Advice for anyone experiencing child abuse is available on the force website 

If you want to report any suspected offences in relation to indecent images of children you can also contact Sussex Police online or by calling 101.

The force website also provides advice for potential offenders and links to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation