In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor discuss “Stealthing”. This term refers to non-consensual condom removal during sex.

Stealthing falls under Section 74 of The Sexual Offences Act 2003 which states that Consent is when “a person consents if he/she agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice”. Under UK law, consent is required for each sexual act and is specific to the agreed-upon. Removal of a condom intentionally during penetrative intercourse without consent is sexual assault.

There is no data on stealthing rates in the UK and there is only one widely known conviction of “stealthing” in the UK. The man was convicted in 2019 and since, Feleena and Alan have assisted that individual bring a related civil claim.

This issue was explored last year, in the BBC One drama “I May Destroy You” and discussed in our previous podcast episode. The main character Arabella has sex with a man who removes the condom without her knowledge. Like many women, Arabella doesn't realise it's rape until she hears it discussed on a podcast.

In addition to clear harm of disregard for consent and illegality of Stealthing, there are two other clear risks. It increases the likelihood of pregnancy and of Sexually Transmitted Infections. It is unfair that those who have taken the step to protect themselves, by using a condom, to be put at a risk of harm against their consent.

We encourage anyone who has experienced “stealthing” to contact the police or other supportive organisation.

If you have comments or concerns relating to this subject, or about abuse in general, you can get in touch with Alan Collins at Alan.collins@hughjames.com or Feleena Grosvenor at Feleena.grosvenor@hughjames.com.

 

Sources:

In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor address Apple’s new system to scan iPhones for child sex abuse material.

Organisations, including Apple and Facebook, have been under criticism for, supposedly, prioritising customer privacy and keeping individuals safe from hackers and criminals. This is rather than using processes to identify and report child sexual abuse material. 

This is related to the previous podcast “Encryption on Tackling Child Sexual Abuse” whereby Alan and Feleena identified the issues with end-to-end encryption on apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook messenger.

Apple have announced details of a system which both limits the spread of child sexual abuse material and protects user privacy.

It is a system which, before the image is stored in iCloud photos, scans for child sexual abuse material from the existing database of known child abuse images. The system would identify not only the original but edited or similar versions of the original image.

Apple claims that it has an extremely high level of accuracy and each report will be manually reviewed to confirm if there is a match. If there is, it would then disable the user’s account and report to the authorities.

The limitation is that the images have to be in their iCloud Photos account to be caught by the system. On the one hand, this limits the benefit to tackling the spread of child sexual abuse images, but on the other it limits the negative impact on customer privacy as their images can be saved elsewhere.

Whether the system goes too far or not far enough, ultimately, it identifies prohibited content and may serve to encourage other organisations to introduce the same.

We encourage anyone who has comments or concerns relating to this subject, or about abuse in general, to get in touch with Alan Collins at Alan.collins@hughjames.com or Feleena Grosvenor at Feleena.grosvenor@hughjames.com.

 

Sources:

In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor discuss the NSPCC Report Abuse in Education helpline, which was launched in April 2021. It is dedicated to children and young people who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse at school. It is also for worried adults and professionals that need support and guidance.

The NSPCC worked with the Department for Education to set up the phone line after Everyone’s Invited published thousands of anonymous testimonials about sexual harassment in all types of schools, colleges and universities.

The helpline comes at a time of specific concern and research regarding sexual abuse in schools and colleges. The “CASPAR briefing” is considered a landmark report by Ofsted that was conducted in April 2021 regarding peer-on-peer sexual harassment, sexual violence and online sexual abuse. One of the findings were that sexual harassment was so “normal” in schools that children did not see any point of reporting it.

In August 2021, it has been recorded that over 600 people have called the helpline to repost sex abuse in schools (averaging 150 calls a month). Some of the calls have resulted in referrals to external agencies, such as the police and social services.

We hope that the spotlight will remain on the issue to encourage as many people as possible to report and recover from their experiences, as well as preventing it from happening to others.

We encourage anyone who has comments or concerns relating to this subject, or about abuse in general, to get in touch with Alan Collins at Alan.collins@hughjames.com or Feleena Grosvenor at Feleena.grosvenor@hughjames.com.

Sources:

In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor discuss the report of the Defence Sub-Committee on Women in the Armed Forces (“the Committee”) titled “Protecting Those Who Protect Us: Women in the Armed Forces from Recruitment to Civilian Life”.

The Committee’s survey is the first of its kind due to the Ministry of Defence lifting usual restrictions that are in place which stops service personnel from contributing to such inquiries.

The report states that the UK military is “failing to protect” female recruits and has failed to help servicewomen achieve their full potential. Key findings included:

  1. 64% of female veterans, and 58% of currently serving women in the armed forces have experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination;
  2. 62% of those who gave testimony had either witnessed or received “unacceptable behaviour”;
  3. 6 in 10 women did not report the bullying, harassment and discrimination; and
  4. 1 in 3 women who did report the bullying, harassment and discrimination stated that the experience was “extremely poor”.

The Committee made recommendations including that the Ministry of Defence should create a specialised Defence Authority to handle complaints. The Service Complaints Ombudsman also required better resources and its decisions be authorised to be binding.

A further recommendation was that the Ministry of Defence should completely remove cases of rape and sexual assault from military courts and the Service Justice System. Instead, they should be dealt with by the civilian court system. Therefore, the “chain of command” would be removed entirely from complaints of a sexual nature.

We hope that the Ministry of Defence will take this landmark report seriously and make the appropriate changes, as soon as possible, to improve the life of women in the armed forces.

We encourage anyone who has comments or concerns relating to this subject, or about abuse in general, to get in touch with Alan Collins at Alan.collins@hughjames.com or Feleena Grosvenor at Feleena.grosvenor@hughjames.com.

 

Sources:

 

In this week's episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, we look at the civil case that has been brought against Prince Andrew in the US, at a New York federal court under the state’s Child Victims Act.

This is brought by Virginia Giuffre who claims that Prince Andrew had sex with her while she was 17 (a minor), with the knowledge that she had been trafficked by his former friend, Jeffrey Epstein. She claims that incidents occurred in both New York and in London.

Prince Andrew is the sole defendant to the civil suit. Thus far, he does not appear to have responded to the issuing of the claim.

Often, the place of residence of the Defendant and the place of the injury would be the place that has jurisdiction and where the case should ultimately be brought. In this case, the UK would seem suitable. Alan and Feleena discuss why the claim may be being brought in the US as opposed to the UK.

Giuffre’s lawyers, we assume, have considered the limitation issues and the applicable laws in both the US and UK and found the US preferrable for Giuffre.

Another consideration appears to be tactical and in relation to the other criminal proceedings that have occurred. This includes the case against Ghislaine Maxwell. She has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges and faces trial in November. (Epstein took his own life in a US federal jail in August 2019, a month after he was arrested on the same charges.)

The case will, no doubt, develop and receive a lot of media coverage which we will be following with interest.

We encourage anyone who has comments or concerns relating to this subject, or about abuse in general, to get in touch with Alan Collins at Alan.collins@hughjames.com or Feleena Grosvenor at Feleena.grosvenor@hughjames.com.

Sources:

This week on the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, Alan and Danielle are joined by Tom Farr, from CEASE UK to discuss the topic of 'Sugar Daddies'.

CEASE stands for Centre To End All Sexual Exploitation. It was set up in 2019 with a core belief To end sexual exploitation in all its ugly forms, we have to understand what’s driving it. That meant digging down deep to expose the two main root causes  of sexual exploitation”:

CEASE focus on two points of why exploitation continues:

  • OUR CULTURE; CEASE believes one of the biggest causes of sexual exploitation is the fact that we as a culture have made it completely normal to view people (and especially women) as sex objects not human beings. It’s much easier to harm someone if you see them as a ‘thing’
  • TWO: PROFIT CEASE believes humans have turned sex into a saleable commodity – and it’s big business. The international sex trade and the global porn industry are worth billions. 

One of CEASE’s  aims is to tackle the cultural and commercial forces behind exploitation. 

CEASE aims to raise awareness of what sexual exploitation is, where it occurs and how it contravenes our Human Rights by campaigning for better law and policy change. They aim to do this by working with organisations and individuals.

More information can be found here.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins or Danielle Vincent.

This week on the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, Alan and Danielle are joined by Tom Farr, from CEASE UK to discuss the topic of pornography.

CEASE stands for Centre To End All Sexual Exploitation. It was set up in 2019 with a core belief To end sexual exploitation in all its ugly forms, we have to understand what’s driving it. That meant digging down deep to expose the two main root causes  of sexual exploitation”:

CEASE focus on two points of why exploitation continues:

  • OUR CULTURE; CEASE believes one of the biggest causes of sexual exploitation is the fact that we as a culture have made it completely normal to view people (and especially women) as sex objects not human beings. It’s much easier to harm someone if you see them as a ‘thing’
  • TWO: PROFIT CEASE believes humans have turned sex into a saleable commodity – and it’s big business. The international sex trade and the global porn industry are worth billions. 

One of CEASE’s  aims is to tackle the cultural and commercial forces behind exploitation. 

CEASE  aims to raise awareness of what sexual exploitation is, where it occurs and how it contravenes our Human Rights by campaigning for better law and policy change. They aim to do this by working with organisations and individuals.

The three areas which can be explored in detail on the website are, pornography, prostitution and the wider sex industry.

Pornography

One of CEASE’s focuses is on how pornography has become normalised leading to exploitation CEASE list the following stances;

  • PORNOGRAPHY IS A ‘PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS’ OF THE DIGITAL AGE.
  • THE PORN INDUSTRY IS EXPLOITATIVE AND UNREGULATED.
  • PROSTITUTION IS FUNDAMENTALLY EXPLOITATIVE.
  • VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION SHOULD HAVE THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE LAW TO REBUILD THEIR LIVES.
  • HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND PROSTITUTION ARE INTRINSICALLY LINKED.
  • THE COMMERCIAL SEX INDUSTRY PUTS CHILDREN AT RISK OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION. 
  • HYPERSEXUALISATION IN MEDIA AND WIDER CULTURE IS AN UNDERLYING DRIVER OF CHILD SEX ABUSE & EXPLOITATION.

 

CEASE campaign to raise awareness how pornography can be racist and how it can hurt children and relationships. Concerns highlighted which can flow from pornography include physical and psychological violence, exploitation, rape, addiction and homelessness.

 

Prostitution

Prostitution in the UK is not illegal. However, in an attempt to mitigate the harm and risks associated with it, the UK government has criminalised more than 30 associated activities, including: soliciting sex on the street; kerb crawling; advertising using cards in telephone boxes; causing / inciting prostitution or controlling it for personal gain (i.e. pimping); brothel-keeping; and the buying of sex from trafficked individuals. The UK law around prostitution is complicated and, for this reason, there have been various calls for reform.

Wider Sex Industry

CEASE also raise awareness of sugar daddy dating, stripping, webcamming and the shallows (putting one foot into the sex industry whilst also trying to maintain a normal life)

Campaigns

  • #AVNOW

CEASE have been running the AVNOW campaign to raise awareness of age verification on porn sites to prevent the harm we have already outlined above and children’s images being used.

Facts states by CEASE state by the UK Government’s own reckoning, 1.4 million children access pornography every month from a young age of 7 or so and over 60% of this accidental – campaigning for age verification is therefore vital

CEASE list in June 2021 another law suit was filed  in the USA against Pornhub and its parent company Mindgeek that have been found to have hosted, and profited from, videos of child sexual exploitation, rape, trafficking, and otherwise non-consensually shared footage and images. This time, victims of non-consensual image sharing have filed the case because, as USA Today reports, they ““were ignored, shamed, and sometimes mocked” when they asked MindGeek to remove videos of their abuse from its porn platform.”

CEASE are also crown fundraising, threatening to bring a legal case against the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to protect children’s data from misuse by porn sites. This exposes children to more hardcore and harmful content. Help us call on the Information.

CEASE highlights, these sites are now processing and using the data of children, and the authorities who have the power and competency to investigate them have not.

More information can be found here: Home - CEASE / Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins at Alan.collins@hughjames.com or Danielle Vincent at  Danielle.vincent@hughjames.com

On this week's episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, Alan and Danielle are discussing abuse in massages.

This topic has been brought to light as recently, former Love Island Contestant, Shaughna Phillips, has bravely disclosed claims that her masseur touched her inappropriately.

Previously in 2020 Nicola McLean also disclosed how she was sexually assaulted by a masseur in her own home but couldn’t face reporting this to the police. After the assault she described how she suffered nightmares, anxiety and return of an eating disorder

Many of us have experienced going for a professional massage before and usually the occasion is comfortable and respectful. However, sadly, many people have not shared this same positive experience and have left feeling violated and uncomfortable with the situation they have been put in.

This week we discuss the issue of consent in the podcast. When you go to a professional masseuse, you are consenting to have them perform the desired treatment on you. However, how far does that consent go?  It can sometimes be unclear as to whether the actions of the masseuse are necessary to the treatment or over the line and inappropriate. The difficulty is, that without discussing the experience, many of us do not know what is inappropriate in that scenario. Would you expect your masseur to ask you to remove your underwear? Do we feel embarrassed to question the professional? Would you discuss the experience afterwards or feel embarrassed that you are questioning this experience?

As with many situations where abuse occurs, abusers rely upon their position of trust.

Over the years there have been many cases where convictions have been brought against masseurs for sexual assault. In March this year a Belfast masseur was jailed for sexual assault to two young female clients. There have been convictions against masseurs working in high establishment hotels where you would expect to feel safe.

We would encourage anyone who feels they have experienced sexual abuse to report their experience to the police.

 

In part two, Alan and Michael discuss what lessons can be learned from the impact of Covid-19 on Online Child Sexual Exploitation?

As part of the research project when asked about the lessons of the pandemic for online child protection and safety, OCSE professionals called for:

  • Increased education and outreach to children, parents and the community about child safety strategies and the risks of OCSE,
  • An adaptive and crisis-prepared child protection system,
  • Technology industry transparency and accountability to ensure a timely and proportionate response to OCSE,
  • Preventative platform and service design to reduce the opportunities for offenders to target children and to improve reporting and safety measures,
  • Enhanced support for OCSE victims and survivors, including holistic case management,
  • Recognition of the adaptiveness of OCSE offender communities and a commitment to a similarly adaptive counter-responses, and
  • A strengths-based approach that acknowledges the strength and resiliency of children and young people.

Alan raises the question during the podcast: what do you do if your child has been the victim of on-line sexual exploitation?

If your child has been “sextorted” what advice and support is there?

The role of on-line social media platform providers are discussed as well as the need for governments, internationally, to do far more to combat on-line CSE.

The key recommendations from the report are:

  • To integrate OCSE professional stakeholders into the planning of child protection responses to crises and pandemics,
  • To diversify outreach approaches for the delivery of OCSE prevention and education initiatives,
  • To increase transparency and accountability measures for technology companies in the prevention, moderation, and reporting of OCSE, including a safety by design approach,
  • To develop accessible specialised support options for victims and survivors of OCSE, and
  • To develop robust measures of offender and child behaviour online.

A full copy of “The impact of COVID-19 on the risk of online child sexual exploitation and the implications for child protection and policing” can be found here.

In this podcast Alan Collins discusses with Prof. Michael Salter of the University of New South Wales the impact of Covid-19 on On-Line Child Sexual Exploitation.

It will come , perhaps, as no great surprise that the pandemic with the “lockdowns” as impacted on children and young people in many ways, whether it be being unable to attend school, delayed exams, or not seeing friends and family. Concerns have been raised about the risks of child sexual abuse being heightened by the impact of “lockdowns”, and these have been well-founded given the research undertaken by Prof. Slater and his colleague Dr Tim Wong. Their research paper: “The impact of COVID-19 on the risk of online child sexual exploitation and the implications for child protection and policing” is the subject of this podcast.

 

The research highlights the following:

  • There were significant changes and disruptions to OCSE professional practice as a result of COVID-19. Working from home (and many of can now relate to this), and other COVID-19 safety measures (for example travel restrictions; court closures etc) were particularly challenging for professionals engaged in investigations work, managing sensitive or illegal content, undertaking case management, and for those reliant upon multi-agency collaboration.
  • Major increases in reports and investigations into OCSE were not matched by increased victim identification and victim support efforts. Participant responses indicated that they experienced an influx of OCSE reports, resulting in increased investigations work, however OCSE victim identification and support efforts remained at pre-pandemic levels.
  • OCSE education and prevention initiatives decreased during the pandemic. Although online risks to children increased during the pandemic, agencies found it difficult to maintain their existing outreach and prevention efforts.
  • The majority of professionals identified increased OCSE offending and risk behaviour as a result of the pandemic including increases related to: child sexual abuse material, online grooming, activity in online abuse communities, online risk taking by minors, and live streaming of abuse material.
  • OCSE professionals reported a lack of robust statistical measures of OCSE offender behaviour and child risk as a key constraint when assessing the impact of COVID-19 on online child safety and offender behaviour.

A full copy of “The impact of COVID-19 on the risk of online child sexual exploitation and the implications for child protection and policing” can be found at: https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/eSafety-OCSE-pandemic-report-salter-and-wong.pdf

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