Globally, there has been a large increase in reports of children and young people being forced into paying money or meeting another financial demand (such as purchasing a pre-paid gift card) after an offender has threatened to release nudes or semi-nudes of them.

This is financially motivated sexual extortion, a type of online blackmail often referred to in the media as ‘sextortion’. It is a form of child sexual abuse.

Financially motivated sexual extortion is usually carried out by organised crime groups (OCGs) based overseas who are typically motivated by money. These groups target all ages and genders however, a large proportion of cases have involved male victims aged 14-18.

It’s important to have frequent, open and non-judgemental conversations with your child about relationships, sex and being online to build trust and support them if something goes wrong. Financially motivated sexual extortion should be included in those conversations.

All schools in the UK have recently been asked to share a letter from the National Crime Agency giving advice on this topic in order to raise awareness. Please find a link to the letter here.

Lottie Hearn, Deputy Headteacher, said; “Whilst there are so many positives surrounding the technology and methods of communication we have today, there are also risks. We will be raising awareness of this topic with students in school during PSHE lessons and we are always available for advice and support if you have any concerns regarding your child.”

To learn more about the National Crime Agency’s work on sextortion click here.