Award-winning film leads fight against CSE

A five-minute film produced by Leicestershire Police about the rape and murder of a 15-year-old local schoolgirl has raised worldwide attention of the dangers of online grooming.

Oct 11, 2017

A five-minute film produced by Leicestershire Police about the rape and murder of a 15-year-old local schoolgirl has raised worldwide attention of the dangers of online grooming. Kayleigh’s Love Story tells the story of Kayleigh Haywood, who was groomed online by a 27-year-old man she had never met in November 2015. After 13 days, during which more than 2,600 text messages were exchanged, Kayleigh finally agreed to spend the night with her groomer, Luke Harlow. But 36 hours later she was dead, having been raped and murdered by Harlow’s next door neighbour, Stephen Beadman, after the pair had held the schoolgirl against her will. Kayleigh’s Love Story tells the story of those 13 days culminating in Kayleigh’s shocking death, for which Beadman received a life sentence with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 35 years. Harlow was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The short film, made with the support of Kayleigh’s family, was initially shown to 55,000 schoolchildren, aged 11 and above, in supervised screenings at schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. On January 3 it was posted online, since which time is has been viewed 36.6 million times across the globe, translated into seven different languages with signed and audio described versions also available, and has also won eight industry awards. The film has produced staggering results: in Leicestershire alone, 50 disclosures have been made by children within hours of watching the film. The film is one aspect of a raft of innovative work taking place in Leicestershire to tackle child sexual exploitation (CSE), including the introduction of a psychologist who profiles victims and offenders to provide bespoke care for victims while helping investigating officers achieve better outcomes. A Faith and Communities CSE Champion has also been appointed to work with minority ethnic communities, organisations and individuals to address issues such as CSE, FGM (female genital mutilation) and forced marriage. A communications officer dedicated to raising awareness of CSE has also been appointed in a collaborative venture with Northamptonshire Police and is helping to prepare a further campaign across both force footprints in the New Year aimed specifically at raising awareness among teenage boys.

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