Jane (not her real name) lives with her siblings and adoptive parents having previously experienced abuse. She has post-traumatic stress disorder and development delay.
When referred to Safe and Sound’s Special Educational Needs – Education and Awareness Officer the family were in crisis. There were real concerns as Jane had been groomed online and this had escalated into sexual exploitation which was putting a severe strain on family relationships.
Safe and Sound’s Education and Awareness Officer used specially adapted resources to help Jane understand about staying safe online, boundaries, relationships, risk taking, the danger of online grooming, reporting abuse and privacy settings.
This patient and appropriate approach helped Jane to build her confidence, recognise the risks she faces and open up about her experiences.
Jane’s mum said: “We absolutely thought we had lost our lovely special daughter which has been hard to come to terms with and has caused us so much emotional and mental pain.
“Safe and Sound has been our lifeline and started to breakdown our daughter’s destructive cycle, making her feel good about herself, so she was less reliant on inappropriate chat rooms. The fact that she didn’t flinch when her phone was broken and said she wasn’t worried how long it took to replace, showed less dependency on the vehicle to the person who has been grooming her online.
“Safe and Sound’s expertise with young adults with learning difficulties has shone in helping her accept what has previously happened to her and that it is just a small part of who she is. She has more of her life ahead of her than behind her and we hope it is as full and healthy in every way as possible.
“With Safe and Sound’s help we hope she can help her see this herself. She can now better recognise unsafe contacts online, tell us if she is uncomfortable with conversations and unwanted interest, and we have reported particularly dangerous activity to the police who have taken our concerns seriously and are investigating.
“Without Safe and Sound’s support for the whole family, I believe, she would have packed her bags and gone off with her groomer.
“As her parents, it’s been a privilege to watch her become aware of the subtle manipulative strategies that online stranger dangers presents to all vulnerable individuals and we are grateful that Safe and Sound’s awareness programme was there for our young adult.”