Jessica’s parents were concerned when their 14 year old daughter suddenly withdrew from the family and they knew that there was more than just ‘teenage-angst’ involved. She became more secretive around her use of social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram and there was an incident of potential self-harm, but they were unable to gain any real evidence of concern themselves. However, they did identify a Twitter name which seemed to be prominent in their daughter’s communications and took their concerns to the local police. Unfortunately, this was not progressed as there was no ‘evidence’ of any offences at this time and no further action taken. The behaviour continued and the family approached OSP for help. Always mindful of privacy legislation, we undertook ECIJA Brand Watch open source searching around the identified names and online addresses. As a result of this, the original Twitter name was identified linked to a number of other accounts, some of which appeared to provide evidence of potential grooming offences. This data was secured for evidential purposes and we supported the family through the re-engagement with law enforcement.
The Parents Story:
“We were at out wits end about Jess, but having the police initially tell us they could do nothing, we had no clue what to do next. Fortunately, the school was just setting up an Anti-Bullying Online Workshop and from there we heard about the OSP services. They met with us and outlined our options and gave us the confidence to progress things. Within a few days they came back to us with a report that enabled us to go back to the police. They were even available to assist with the technical explanation of the report, as the officers we dealt with originally – although helpful – didn’t really have any knowledge of Internet crime.
We were open with our daughter and we are not saying that things got back to normal immediately, but the bad communication soon stopped and things are still improving.”