Perpetrators, Texas Rangers, On-Line Abuse , Special Educational Needs and Disabilities!

South West CSE ROCU CSA/E Conference 5th April 2017

On Wednesday I was privileged to be able to attend an absorbing conference hosted by DI Larisa Hunt (South West ROCU CSE Co-ordinator).

The main speaker at the Conference was Dr Joe Sullivan a forensic psychologist from Mentor Forensic Services, Joe’s presentation titled “ Intervene to Protect a Child” was about perpetrators of child sexual abuse and exploitation and was extremely well received by all 750 who attended the event. Joe discussed the work that he has been doing with Durham Constabulary in training officers to be more inquisitive in their approach towards members of the public in the course of their daily activity. This approach was pioneered by Texas Rangers who realised that they were in effect failing to protect children who were being Trafficked across the state, they realised that in a state three times the size of Wales during a ten year period they had not rescued a single child from trafficking which they knew was a major public protection issue. They developed a training programme for front line officers to encourage them to look differently when engaging members of the public and to use the skills they developed in training to identify situations and circumstances that just do not seem right. Following this input significant improvements in detecting crimes against children were uncovered and more children were being identified as being trafficked and exploited and were subsequently rescued from their abusers.

Joe also gave an insightful view of perpetrator behaviour that was thoughtful, illuminating and at times very disturbing. He used real life video clips of perpetrators who he has interviewed from around the country and also America. I feel that his input helped those who attended to think again about their views of those who download indecent images of children and also encouraged them to think and ask more questions and further develop the concept of curious enquiry but with a little more added!

I gave a short presentation about special educational needs and disabilities and the need to ask more questions and challenge assumptions regarding children with learning disabilities and to view these children through a different lens , I encouraged the delegates to ask vital key questions about assessments, support and the unidentified sensory needs of this vulnerable group. 

The event finished with an excellent presentation from Vicky Green from the Marie Collins Foundation about children who are sexually abused on line, she delivered this in an easy going manner but backed up with good slides, inquisitive enquiry of the audience and displayed a wealth of knowledge about this particular subject matter that is becoming more evident in significant numbers of CSE enquires and prosecutions.

A lot of praise has to go to DI Larisa Hunt who arranged the event and it was a pleasure to present to such a large and diverse audience. I would really recommend that if you see any training or conferences where Dr Joe Sullivan or Vicky Green are presenting that you attend as you will not be disappointed and the learning outcomes are invaluable to practice development and personal improvement.

On a lighter note it was interesting that all three speakers were born within 20 miles of each other from the fabulous country of Northern Ireland and were brought to an event in Bristol from different parts of the country but share the same passion and commitment to improving the lives of children, the world has become a smaller place once again !

Kev Murphy

Education and Communities Lead

CSE Response Unit.