Message from the Chair

Posted on 06 November 2015

Childnet Chair, Tink Palmer, reflects on her time as a Childnet board member sharing some of her highlights from the last 9 years.  

As the Chair of the Childnet Board of Trustees it is both my privilege and pleasure to be involved in Childnet’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

During my nine years as a board member I have been impressed by the dedication of the staff team to meeting the needs of children in an ever evolving technological environment. Being a small charity, Childnet has the flexibility to respond in a timely manner to the new challenges posed and it does this through communicating with children, their parents/carers and their teachers and thus keeping abreast of issues that currently affect them all.

I know from my professional experience how the abuse of children online affects them in so many areas of their development, and it underlines how the preventative work carried out by Childnet is crucial. I have spent my professional life assisting children who have been sexually harmed and abused. In 1999 I received my first case of online abuse and have since endeavoured to not only improve the service response to the predicament faced by children harmed online but have worked to infl uence public policy in relation to their safety. It was in this capacity that I first met Childnet after being asked to carry out an independent review of their resource Jenny’s Story in 2004 and then shortly after this being invited to join the Childnet board.

Jenny’s Story is a fi lm based on the real life experiences of a young person groomed online. I remember thinking the first time I viewed the fi lm that it would be pivotal to helping young people understand what grooming entails and the devastating impacts that it has on their lives. Since then, Jenny’s Story (as with the other resources developed by Childnet) has been used throughout the UK and globally to not only protect children from harm in the first place but to also help those who have been groomed online make sense of what has happened to them and to enable them to move forward in their lives. Childnet’s work consistently helps to improve the lives of young people, but we couldn’t do this work alone.

At Childnet we pride ourselves in working in partnership with other agencies, charities, government departments and industry members for the collective good and wellbeing of young people.

Together we need to safeguard children before any harm comes their way; if we don’t the impact on children and their families can be devastating. Partnerships like that between Childnet, the Internet Watch Foundation and the South West Grid for Learning as the UK Safer Internet Centre have shown what can be achieved by working collaboratively. The sum of the expertise of this tripartite collaboration has proven to far exceed that of each of the organisations working solely in isolation.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank all those who have worked for Childnet and who have worked alongside us over the past 20 years. We look forward to another 20 years of collaborative working to ensure that all children and young people are both safeguarded and empowered in all their online activities.

Tink Palmer, Chair of Childnet Trustees and CEO Marie Collins Foundation

Tink's foreword is taken from the Childnet 20th anniversary report.  To read the full report visit: http://www.childnet.com/what-we-do/20-years-of-childnets-work

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