The Scottish Borders has joined a national two-month campaign to help prevent child sex abuse.
Police Scotland and local authorities have launched the initiative with the charity Stop It Now! Scotland.
The charity provides confidential support to people who are having sexual thoughts about children and young people, supporting them manage these and control any associated behaviour.
The campaign is being supported by the City of Edinburgh Council, West Lothian Council, Scottish Borders Council, East Lothian Council and Midlothian Council with partners in NHS Lothian and NHS Borders.
Stop it Now! Scotland has worked with hundreds of men arrested for viewing sexual images of children.
“For many, being arrested was a real wake-up call. Many knew what they were doing was wrong, but struggled to change their behaviour on their own. That’s where our work comes in.
“We make sure these men understand the harm they have caused the children in these images, and also the serious consequences for them and their families if they don’t get to grips with their online behaviour. Once they understand this, they become far less likely to reoffend.
“But there are thousands of men out there viewing sexual images of under 18s. We need to get to them too, to help them understand what they are doing is illegal and incredibly harmful to the children and young people in the images – and to get them to stop.”
– STUART ALLARDYCE, NATIONAL MANAGER OF STOP IT NOW! IN SCOTLAND
Our ultimate goal here is to protect children.
“Accessing these images is not a victimless crime. A child is re-victimised every time an image of them is viewed and this creates further demand for these appalling materials.
“We have a highly experienced and dedicated Cyber Crime Unit with access to extensive investigative techniques to pursue perpetrators of these crimes.
“The consequences of this behaviour for an individual are life-changing and can include losing your job, being imprisoned and registered as a sex offender.
“I’d urge anyone who is having inappropriate thoughts about children to seek help from Stop It Now! Scotland. Otherwise, expect a visit from officers.”
– DETECTIVE CHIEF INSPECTOR BRIAN STUART OF POLICE SCOTLAND’S CYBER CRIME UNIT
To get help, call Stop It Now! Scotland confidentially on 0131 556 3535 or visit get-help.stopitnow.org.uk where further advice, including a self-help section, is available.