National Crime Agency Issues Financially Motivated Sexual Extortion Alert to UK Schools

29 Apr 2024 UK SIC

Today (29/04/24) the National Crime Agency has issued an alert to educational establishments across the UK about the rise in financially motivated sexual extortion cases.

Financially motivated sexual extortion (often referred to in the media as ‘sextortion’) is a form of blackmail that can force any individual into paying money to an offender who is threatening to share nude or semi-nude images of them. This can also include forcing them to provide further intimate content or agreeing to do something against their will. Typically perpetrated by organised crime groups operating outside of the UK, sextortion can target any individual regardless of their age or gender.  

What Does the Alert Include?

The alert gives advice about spotting the signs of financially motivated sexual extortion, whilst outlining specific advice around how professionals and parents can support young people. It also includes messaging for parents and carers on how to talk to their child about the issue, and best practices for responding to incidents and concerns.

The guidance outlines the importance of reporting as well as practices such as blocking the contact, stopping communication and not paying any money that is being demanded. Many  online reporting tools have also been highlighted as ways to get support such as Take It Down and Report Remove.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF (A partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre), said:

“Sextortion has become a major threat online in the last few years. This alert to schools is an absolutely crucial intervention in stemming this epidemic which has already ruined so many young lives. These criminals are cold-blooded, and do not even care when the shame and fear they inflict drives some children to take their own lives.

“We want children to know, however, they are not alone, no matter how lonely if feels, that there is a remedy, and a way to take control and fight back. The Report Remove tool we run with Childline is revolutionary and allows you to stop sexual imagery being shared or from going viral online. Please, if you are being targeted this way, reach out. It is not a hopeless situation, and we are here to help you.”

UK Safer Internet Centre – Support

To support the alert, the UK Safer Internet Centre has prepared a new online issue advice page to provide additional guidance and resources that can support schools, parents/ carers and professionals with how to respond to incidents involving financially motivated sexual extortion. As well as this, we have prepared a full list of supporting resources from our own partners as well as external organisations that provide wider support around the issue and can provide additional advice if required.

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