A “DISTRESSING” film about a teenage girl who was groomed online and murdered is being shared by police as part of Safer Internet Day today .
The film, Kayleigh’s Love Story, tells the story of Kayleigh Haywood, who received a Facebook message from a man she had never met before on October 31, 2015.
Fifteen days later, after agreeing to meet up with him, she was raped, murdered and her body was dumped in a wood.
Over the course of two weeks, she had exchanged 2,643 messages with the man, who showered her with affection and compliments.
South Yorkshire Police said it was sharing the film – which was a film produced by Leicestershire Police – to highlight the risks of online grooming and exploitation.
Det Chief Insp Joanne Bates, South Yorkshire Police’s force lead for child abuse, said: “Today (Tuesday) is Safer Internet Day and therefore it felt like a fitting day to launch our campaign, as our focus is to raise awareness of the dangers of online grooming.
“Leicestershire Police’s film is a stark warning to children and adults of how exploitation can occur over the internet, where young people may believe they are speaking to someone their own age and tricked into thinking they are in a loving relationship.
“Kayleigh’s tragic death cannot and will not be forgotten, and we’ll be sharing Kayleigh’s Love Story throughout our campaign to ensure as many people as possible see the film.
“I’d encourage all adults to watch the film – it’s distressing but necessary viewing so that we all understand the dangers and can be mindful about who our young people are engaging with online.
“If you do have concerns, remember that support is available and there are a range of agencies who can offer help and guidance.”
You can call police on 101 or call/text the national helpline Say Something on 116 000, NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or ChildLine on 0800 1111.
South Yorkshire Police’s "protect" team has also been at Riverside House today (Tuesday) to chat to people about safer internet use.
Alice Rumley, regional protect delivery officer, said: “We’ve been helping spread some important crime prevention messages to the very young, the very old and everyone in between.
“There have been lots of visitors to our stand and it's been a productive day.
“People are going home with a clearer vision of how to stay safe online and get the best out of their internet use.”