A CHILD abuse whistleblower who was harassed online is now working with South Yorkshire Police to try and improve how the crime is tackled.
Jayne Senior (pictured) faced her online harasser, Faisal Khan, in court in January after he admitted harassment and sending malicious communications to her via Facebook.
Khan (23) was handed a community order, fined and given a life-long restraining order.
But Mrs Senior, who helped expose the Rotherham abuse scandal, said she had to fight to get the case to court and after a successful conviction wants South Yorkshire Police to improve how it deals with online intimidation and harassment.
Mrs Senior, the chief executive of charity Swinton Lock which supports vulnerable people, said: “I had reported him (Faisal Khan) several times and was told it didn’t meet the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) threshold and they were going to give him a warning.”
Mrs Senior appealed against the decision and her case was taken on by the CPS.
A CSE survivor, who recently saw her abuser jailed as part of the National Crime Agency’s Operation Stovewood investigation into historic Rotherham abuse, said she had felt “let down” by how the police had dealt with her harassment reports.
The woman, who attends Swinton Lock, said she was told it was a civil matter and had been made to feel as if she was “over-reacting”.
She added: “A sergeant came out and referred me to adult services three times – he was saying that I wasn’t all right and needed help when there was nothing wrong with me.
“Then there were things said on social media saying I was lying about my abuse and I was named and my dad got named as well.
“When I rang the police and said they had broken my anonymity they were saying it was civil and there was nothing they could do.
“It got to the stage where instead of concentrating on my investigation and what I was going through with the National Crime Agency, I was waking up feeling scared thinking what else is going to be put on social media.”
The survivor said last year she had gone straight to the NCA to report further harassment she had received over the telephone and a man was cautioned by the independent investigators.
She added: “I think South Yorkshire Police understand a bit more about CSE and they have had good convictions, I don’t doubt that, but I think on the intimidation side of things they have really got a lot of work to do – I feel a bit let down by them.”
The NCA confirmed it had cautioned two men in their 30s last year in relation to harassing two different victims.
Mrs Senior added: “The intimidation of witnesses and harassment and using social media as a platform for that should not be a role of the NCA to investigate – that’s what our police force is there for.
“I will be working with a senior officer, Chief Insp Rebecca Chapman, to try and help change things.
“This is a great opportunity to learn from past and improve how we deal with intimidation on social media.”
Ms Chapman said she was working with Mrs Senior to review her case and if any lessons were learnt they would be shared across the force and with force lead for stalking and harassment, Det Chief Insp Victoria Short.
Harassment carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and stalking has a ten-year maximum sentence.
Ms Short said 50 officers from across the board had been specially trained to ensure stalking and harassment cases were investigated properly and progressed to the right conclusion.
She said: “We treat stalking or harassment the same whether it’s online or in the street.
“Over the years, online (harassment) has increased due to advances in technology.
“It’s a lot easier for perpetrators to think online is more covert, but many of them don’t realise that when it’s online a footprint is left and we have the expertise to retrieve that evidence.”
She said she was “drilling” into officers that when victims reported this type of crime it was often after several incidents and officers needed to “sit down with them and find out what’s gone on”