Online abuse of children with send

What you need to know

Online sexual abuse is a serious issue for all children  especially for those with additional vulnerabilities. Young people with SEND could be at greater risk. Here, we explain how you can help children with SEND to stay safe online.

Watch Maya’s Story with your child to help them understand that they should tell a trusted adult if they receive requests for self-generated child sexual abuse images, who will help them block and report the perpetrator.

Learn about the issue in our resource for parents, carers and teachers, which will help you understand what the risks are for children with SEND and how you can take simple steps to protect them online.

Teachers can download a lesson plan to access a range of activities and discussion points centred around Maya’s Story, which will empower both students with SEND and teachers to have open conversations in a safe space. 

Finally, you can help to make a real difference. Online child sexual abuse is still widespread – answer our short survey to help us understand how we can develop our response and protect children and young people across the world.

How can I support children with SEND?

Maya’s experience is sadly all too common for vulnerable children, including young people with SEND. They can be coerced into sharing self-generated child sexual abuse content in many ways, from aggressive demands to a friendly message telling them what they want to hear.

Watch Maya’s Story with a child in your care to see how abusers can try to manipulate young people online. It will help them understand that they should tell a trusted adult, who will help them block and report the perpetrator. For accessibility, watch the British Sign Language version

voiceover-only version of the film is also available to view online.

Where can I find more information?

Being aware of the risks that young people with SEND face online and the tools and techniques you can use to keep them safe can help them to avoid online child sexual abuse. Our downloadable TALK resource sets out what you need to know about the problem, how to have a conversation with your child about their safety online and some simple steps you can take to protect them. 

Download the TALK resource now to make sure you know what to do to protect your child online.

I’m a teacher of children with SEND – what can I do?

Teachers play a vital role in the safety and wellbeing of their students. Having a conversation about online child sexual abuse with your class will help make sure that they are prepared and know where to go if they do receive a request for self-generated child sexual abuse content.

Our downloadable lesson plan contains a range of activities and discussion points, based around ‘Maya’s Story’ that will support both students and teachers to understand a challenging and complex topic. It can be adapted to meet the needs of your class and can be used in both specialist and mainstream settings.

Download our lesson plan today to help prepare your students.

How can I support others?

Keeping children and young people safe online is a collaborative effort and online child sexual abuse isn’t going away. Your feedback is vital for helping us to adapt and learn as we work to protect children everywhere as the digital age evolves. Our survey will only take a matter of minutes to let us know what you thought of our resources, but you could change lives by helping our research in future.

Fill out our survey and help us fight online child sexual abuse everywhere.

Download the full TALK guidance

Read and share

Our downloadable guide for parents and carers.