Today, I received another letter to support the #nomoreCSEfilms campaign – this time, from a woman who worked as a detective specialising in child abuse. I now have 72 accounts of harm, 6 letters and 5 verbal accounts of CSE (child sexual exploitation) films harming children. Accounts come from children, adults, parents, psychologists, police officers, psychotherapists, youth workers, social workers and teachers.
Please stop using CSE films with children. I will soon publish every letter, every signature and every account in an open-access document. The document will be the first collection of evidence ever collected on the harm and trauma caused by practice using CSE films with children and families.
Thank you to Tamara who has chosen to give her full name and role details for this campaign.
I became aware of your ‘#NoMoreCSEFilms’ campaign through social media, and I want to add my opinion as a former professional in the child protection arena.
I previously worked as a Police Officer on a Child Abuse Investigation Unit, and later as a Police Trainer for Detectives specialising in child abuse investigation and rape investigation. As part of my own training (and the training I later delivered) we used a selection of these films – the two most popular being ‘My Dangerous Loverboy’ and ‘Sick Party’. These films are notably graphic, and would sometimes result in adults (yes, even supposedly unemotional, robotic Police officers!) turning away or walking out. To have to watch a realistic film of a young girl being repeatedly raped in a dirty shed by numerous men isn’t easy viewing for anyone. This was several years ago when these films were fairly new, given the content I would never have considered showing them to a child – to find out that they are I find, quite frankly, horrific.
I have worked with victims of rape and sexual abuse. I have interviewed numerous children who have been subjected to horrific crimes and can say that the Criminal Justice process, the constant questioning, the things that we HAVE to ask to make it ‘clear’ for a jury that the child knows what they are talking about, the way we MAKE them spell out every little detail so that there can be no ambiguity is traumatic enough. Add to that the inevitable questioning by parents, peers, associated victim-blaming…the thought that one of these films would be shown to a victim who has been through all of this on top of the original offence is beyond belief. Then, I also found that these films are being shown to children in schools…some children who probably don’t even know what rape is, and some who are victims we don’t yet know about…for the sake of education? These films are not encouraging reporting. They are encouraging shame and embarrassment. Yes, the obligatory disclaimer could be added before the film, but what child or teenager is going to leave the room and draw attention to themselves? Of course they aren’t. Even adults don’t. If children are suffering in silence the point is that they are scared to come forward for fear of being blamed or not believed. So they will sit through it.
Traumatised if they do, traumatised if they don’t.
I am a parent. My 11 year-old daughter is aware of what sexual assault is. However, I would never dream of thinking these films would be appropriate to show her, even in the safety of our living room. In fact, If I did show her such a film and then she went to school and spoke about it, I wouldn’t be surprised to get a knock on the door from children’s services. They are THAT graphic.
Showing these films is not educational. It is not therapeutic. It goes against everything we know about the treatment of trauma. So lets’ stop, think about it, and find another way.
Former Child Abuse Investigation Detective
Please help me and hundreds of other professionals and parents to stop this practice in 2018. Here are some things you can do to help:
- Stop buying, using or recommending CSE films
- Boycott organisations and companies that sell and make CSE films – ask them for empirical evidence, proof of testing, proof of safety and proof that the films have been ethically and independently assessed by experts
- Ask your local schools to stop using CSE films
- Write to your local social services or police and crime commissioner
- SIGN THE PETITION! http://www.victimfocus.org.uk/nomorecsefilms/4594134271
- Meet with me or arrange a phone call to discuss how you can change your practice to remove all use of CSE films
Written by Jessica Eaton