Half-day conference

Generation Sext – Why has the sending of intimate images become so prevalent amongst our children and young people?

Generation $ext
Chaired by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland, Tam Baillie, this half-day briefing will explore:

  • Body image, self esteem and its impact on behaviour
  • The sexting culture – what the evidence tells us
  • The dangers and impact of sharing sexually explicit images
  • Effective responses and strategies for minimising the risks
  • Good practice and good guidance
  • Key learnings and next steps


TAM BAILLIE, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
DR KAREN COOPER, Researcher in Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh
DR RACHEL HAPPER, Head of the National Confidential Forum
ELAINE CHALMERS, Head of ChildLine in Scotland
JOANNA BARRETT, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, NSPCC Scotland
TIM PARKINSON, Professional Officer, Scottish Association of Social Workers
DR DIAHANNE RHINEY, Founder, Diahanne Rhiney Consultancy & Strength With In Me Foundation (S.W.I.M)
LINDA THOMPSON, National Development Officer – Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Women’s Support Project
JANICE STEVENSON, Development Officer and Domestic Abuse Support Worker (Fearless), LGBT Youth Scotland
The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Bill, has attracted much media attention, predominantly for its focus on so called “revenge p0rn” – the sharing of explicit images by ex-partners. But the issue of social media and mobile technology as a platform to exchange these kind of images voluntarily amongst children and young people is far more pervading.

Recent research – including the SPIRTO and STIR projects – has highlighted that the sending of nude selfies is now one of the most fundamental aspects to many young people’s sexual development, with just under half of UK children surveyed having self-produced sexual images.

What is not so well understood are the underlying reasons for why this has become the case and what the legal and educational landscape looks like in this challenging area.

As young people are now being charged with offences placing them on the sexual offenders register for sharing images of themselves if they happen to be under the age of 16 (with all the long term repercussions that includes), it is essential that those involved in their care and support can effectively guide them through this minefield.

Representatives from Secondary Schools, Local Authorities – Education and Social Work, Health, Police, Voluntary and Community groups including:

  • Teachers and School Guidance professionals
  • Internet Safety co-ordinators
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Child protection practitioners
  • Community groups/Youth workers
  • Foster/Adoption agencies
  • Children and Young People-focussed third sector organisations

Registration and morning refreshments

Understanding the current culture

Chair’s welcome and introduction
Tam Baillie, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland

Body Image, Self Esteem and its Impact on Behaviour
Dr Diahanne Rhiney, Founder, Diahanne Rhiney Consultancy & Strength With In Me Foundation (S.W.I.M)

Nude selfies – adolescents and online self-produced images

  • Gaining an understanding of the current trend in order that we can guide our children
  • Developing evidence-based guidelines for practitioners, parents and carers
  • What parents and carers need to know
  • Establishing a more consistent, child-centred approach

Dr Karen Cooper, Researcher in Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh

Opportunities for questions and discussion

Tea and coffee break, opportunities for networking

Responses and the Longer Term

Coming of age in a P0rn culture

  • How our culture has been co-opted by the p0rn industry to normalise its products and move p0rn from the margins to the mainstream
  • The impact on the relationships and expectations of young people

Linda Thompson, National Development Officer – Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Women’s Support Project

Panel and audience discussion: ‘Sexting – the impact, the long term repercussions and the developing responses’


  • Dr Rachel Happer, Head of the National Confidential Forum
  • Joanna Barrett, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, NSPCC Scotland
  • Tim Parkinson, Professional Officer, Scottish Association of Social Workers
  • Janice Stevenson, Development Officer and Domestic Abuse Support Worker (Fearless), LGBT Youth Scotland

Closing Address – ‘Sexting and online safety: learning from children and young people’s experiences’
Elaine Chalmers, Head of ChildLine in Scotland

Chair’s round-up and closing remarks

Tam Baillie
Tam Baillie, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
Tam Baillie is the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, taking up this post in 2009 after working as a manager and practitioner with children and young people for over 30 years.

The Commissioner has a duty to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people in Scotland under the age of 18 (and those under 21 if they have ever been in the care of, or looked after by a local authority). The Commissioner and his team do this by: raising awareness of rights; involving children and young people in the Commissioner’s work; considering law, policy and practice that concerns rights; communicating best practice about rights.

Children’s rights are set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which the UK Government signed up to in 1991.

Dr Karen Cooper
Dr Karen Cooper, Researcher in Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh
Karen is a researcher in Clinical Psychology at Edinburgh University. In 2015 she completed work on the SPIRTO project (Self-Produced Images – Risk-Taking Online). Funded by the European Safer Internet Programme, the project focused on adolescent experiences of sending self-produced nude or sexual images. The development of animated films ‘Nude Selfies: What Parents and Carers need to know’ was based on emergent findings from the project.

Karen has also worked in policy as an analyst within the Scottish Government’s Justice Analytical Services and as a researcher at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. Here she evaluated a series of programs for the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, aimed at reintegrating young offenders with education activities. Karen’s research primarily focuses on the role of social media/communication technology on adolescent risk taking, online child exploitation and youth offending.

Rachel Happer
Dr Rachel Happer, Head of the National Confidential Forum
Dr Rachel Happer is a clinical psychologist with 14 years’ experience in clinical practice in the field of abuse and trauma. She has a particular interest in the period of adolescence and has taught on the subject of adolescent development in a range of settings. Prior to her current post as head of the National Confidential Forum, she worked for 10 years as the senior psychologist in NHS Lothian Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service sexual trauma team. Here she worked with children, young people and families affected by sexual trauma. Rachel has direct experience of the role of technology in the trauma picture; both as a specific factor in the trauma and as a more general role in the adolescent journey.

Rachel is the author of ‘Survive and Thrive – Under 18s’, a psycho-education course for young people who have experienced abuse and trauma, funded by Survivor Scotland. She is also co-author of the group-based Mentalisation-based therapy for adolescents.

Having worked with many children and young people who are looked after and accommodated, she is passionate about finding ways to improve the lives of those who have experienced early adversity. In February 2016 she was appointed as head of the National Confidential Forum – a forum set up by the Scottish Government to hear the experiences of people who have been in care in Scotland, be that residential care, residential school, boarding school and hospital. The Forum has been set up to hear and acknowledge people’s experiences and to use that knowledge to affect care in the future.

Rachel has been a member of the Cross Party group for Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse and has spoken on the subject of intimate image sharing at the Cross Party Group for Children and Young People. She is a member of the Scottish Trauma Advisory Group and the Survive & Thrive National Reference Group. She has spoken on the subject of Adolescence and Trauma in a range of settings and is dedicated to expanding knowledge and skills around the role trauma plays at this challenging transitional period.

Elaine Chalmers resized
Elaine Chalmers, Head of ChildLine in Scotland
Elaine Chalmers joined ChildLine in 2007and is Service Head for ChildLine bases in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Birmingham. Elaine is a qualified social worker with experience of working with children, young people and families in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. Her extensive experience includes welfare benefits work, representation and advocacy work gained as manager of a Citizens Advice Bureau where she also set up an advice service for prisoners and their families, as well as services operating from local health centres and hospitals.

Elaine’s Social Work background includes supporting excluded young people into housing and employment and working with persistent young offenders as well as children and families affected by drugs and alcohol. Before coming to ChildLine Elaine managed CHILDREN 1st Fraserburgh Families Service, a family support service for children affected by parental drug and alcohol misuse and which also offered family group conferencing and mediation services in support of the Education (Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act.

Since joining the ChildLine service, Elaine has been involved in supporting the introduction of online services, leads for ChildLine volunteer and staff training.
Presently Elaine is involved in considering how Childline can better support children and young people, as well promote improved partnership working across different services.
She also undertakes media work on behalf of ChildLine across the UK as well as working closely with the Scottish and Northern Ireland governments to ensure funding for bases.

Joanna Barrett
Joanna Barrett, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, NSPCC Scotland
Joanna Barrett has been NSPCC Policy and Public Affairs Manager in Scotland for the last five years, and has led on the development of NSPCC Scotland’s policy activity on issues like infant mental health, preventing child maltreatment and online safety. Previous to this, she worked in policy and influencing roles for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the National Autistic Society.

Tim Parkinson
Tim Parkinson, Professional Officer, Scottish Association of Social Workers
Tim began his career as a generic social worker specialising in childcare in the Highlands. He then moved to central Scotland to work with offenders in a variety of settings including Polmont YOI, Longriggend Remand Centre and Shotts Prison. He also worked with detained asylum seekers in a unit in Longriggend and managed a community based group work project for offenders. After leaving the Criminal Justice Service Manager post in Stirling he worked as an independent consultant for a time. Tim joined SASW in January 2011 having been the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Co-ordinator for the Forth Valley. He has been an active BASW member since 1987.

Dr Rhiney
Dr. Diahanne Rhiney, Founder, Diahanne Rhiney Consultancy & Strength With In Me Foundation (S.W.I.M)
Dr. Rhiney is a leading-edge domestic violence interventionist who pens weekly articles for The Huffington Post, The Voice newspaper and international media.

Diahanne’s passion lies in providing guidance, support, education and giving voice to marginalised groups. She uses her platforms and enterprises to raise awareness on the social, psychological and political issues that most affect disadvantaged groups, especially with an emphasis on children.

She has developed groups, presented workshops and spoken extensively on:

  • Self-esteem
  • Body image
  • Children in care
  • Abuse
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Healthy relationships (including peer pressure and intimate relationship abuse).

Diahanne has provided training for foster carers on the challenges of online grooming. She has notably spoken in Washington about modern pressures for young women and the culture of social devices as contributors to self- harm, depression, suicide and eating disorders.

A qualified psychologist, her pioneering domestic violence campaign S.W.I.M (the acronym for ‘Strength With In Me’) is a trailblazing concept aimed at equipping the next generation with the tools to make empowered life choices. She is a long time ambassador for women’s rights, safety and wellbeing.

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Linda Thompson, National Development Officer – Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Women’s Support Project
Linda is originally from Northern Ireland where she worked in the community and statutory sectors. as a health promotion and personal development peer educator working across Belfast before co-ordinating transnational projects using innovative approaches with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. She then managed multidisciplinary teams in an award winning sexual health and relationship project and also sat on the Board of sexual health, youth employment and support projects.

In Scotland Linda has been involved in HIV health promotion programmes with gay and bisexual men, developing new approaches to education, campaigning and support work.

In her current post, she focuses on sexual exploitation and gender inequality through public education, capacity building and strategic work.

She is mother to 2 fantastic girls who keep her busy and in her spare time volunteers in her community with groups supporting parents and children.

Janice Stevenson
Janice Stevenson, Development Officer and Domestic Abuse Support Worker (Fearless), LGBT Youth Scotland
Janice Stevenson has over 10 years’ experience of youth and community development work, and has been part of LGBT Youth Scotland’s Policy and Mainstreaming team for the last year. She graduated with first class honours in Community Education from the University of Strathclyde in 2015 and currently leads the Voices Unheard national youth participation project.

Voices Unheard are a group of young people from across Scotland who have undertaken research on LGBT young people’s understandings and experiences of domestic abuse and gender based violence. They have written and delivered training workshops for professionals and young people and have developed resources and filmed two videos to raise awareness of LGBT young people’s experiences.

Janice also works part-time as a Domestic Abuse Support Worker as part of the Fearless project, housed within LGBT Youth Scotland. Fearless works with hidden survivors of domestic abuse, including men, BME and LGBT people.

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