The impact of a public health campaign to deter viewing of child sexual abuse images online: A case study of the UK Stop It Now! Campaign

Emily Newman, Erifili Efthymiadou, Ethel Quayle, Tom Squire, Deborah Denis, Richard Wortley, Klaus M. Beier, Nikolaos Koukopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Public campaigns offer an opportunity to prevent child sexual abuse by raising awareness and promoting help available to bystanders, victims, and those at risk of perpetrating the abuse. This paper explores the impact of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s ‘Stop It Now!’ campaign in the UK (2015–2018) on help-seeking. Helpline calls (11,190 unique callers), website analytics (109,432 new website visitors) and three website-hosted surveys (N = 252) provided data on help-seeking, awareness, and self-reported behavior. Results indicated that there were more visitors to the help website during active campaigning periods, and helpline callers and website visitors were more likely to seek help after viewing campaign materials during active than non-active campaign periods. Help-seekers were predominantly men concerned about their own behavior. Survey 2 respondents concerned about their own behavior (n = 53) indicated that their awareness of the law (75.5%), and legal and personal consequences (67.9%) had changed after hearing about the campaign, and 66% reported a change in behavior. Public health campaigns may be an effective way to promote help-seeking and prevent abuse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalSexual Abuse
Early online date14 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • child sexual abuse images
  • online sex offending
  • internet
  • campaign

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