Conference hailed a success by national charity (8 Dec 2016)

A ground-breaking conference held to highlight the issue of child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation on the internet has been hailed as a success by a national charity. 

Tink Palmer - the Chief Executive of The Marie Collins Foundation (MCF) joined the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Dee Collins and the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson at the Safeguarding Children in the Digital World Conference on Thursday 1 December at the Force's Training and Development Centre.  

The Marie Collins Foundation is charity dedicated to improving the professional response to children sexually abused and exploited online 

Other guests from across the safeguarding, business, charity and criminal justice sectors were also at the conference. 

Tink Palmer said: "The Marie Collins Foundation is delighted to have had this opportunity to work alongside West Yorkshire CC Dee Collins and PCC Mark Burns-Williams in the hosting of this conference. 

"The online sexual abuse and exploitation of children has grown exponentially over the past ten years. Professionals from all agencies involved in safeguarding children are having to catch up with the way those intent on harming children use the online world to groom and sexually abuse them. It is only by joining together and working in true partnership that we will be able to overcome these terrible crimes against the most vulnerable and innocent members of our communities. 

"The quality of the diverse conference speakers, together with the opportunity for delegates to network and learn from one another resulted in the event being hailed as a huge success - people went away from the day feeling motivated to really make a difference in their work- place so that children are better protected - a very good outcome from an excellent day" 

West Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable Dee Collins, said: "It is of course important that our officers on the front line get it right when dealing with this crime - but what this conference did was to bring key strategic decision makers and practitioners together to discuss and agree the very best way to protect children on line. Ensuring that victims are given help and assistance as well as dealing with the perpetrators of this sickening crime. 

"The conference heard from the father of one such victim and it was harrowing. It is so important that we do everything we can to make a difference - but West Yorkshire Police cannot and must not work in isolation - so it was vital to hear the different perspectives, experiences and draw on different skills from a cross section of individuals and organisations." 

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "Tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse is a top priority. This conference was the latest step in ensuring we have a truly joined up approach to stopping these awful crimes from taking place and safeguard vulnerable people at the earliest opportunity. 

"We are not complacent and will constantly look at how we can improve to stop anyone's lives from being affected by heartless predators."

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