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Online Harms

Supporting Young People Offline and Online to Prevent Harm and Build Resilience

Online Harms Consultation - Catch22

 Catch22 National Online Harms Consultation

The Catch22 Online Harms Consultation gathered insights from young social media users, tech platforms, youth services and experienced youth workers, to understand how violence and exploitation may be occurring as a result of online behaviour, and how services are, or are not, prepared to prevent and address such harm.

  • 38% of frontline practitioners do not feel sufficiently trained to deal with online behaviour
  • Only 27% of young respondents feel safe online all the time
  • 83% of service managers and commissioners have seen serious harm occur offline because of behaviour content online

View an interactive summary of responses collected by Catch22. Click ‘read more’ above.


Building a safer online world

The online world presents huge opportunities for finding purpose, connection, and community. But it also presents significant risks; it is a fast-moving space and the risks of online grooming and exposure to violence and trauma are rapidly growing.

Before the start of the Covid-19 crisis, knife crime and serious violence was on the rise, and the risk of young people being exposed to harmful content shared online was growing. Now, Covid-19 has forced young people to rely on the internet for both their education and maintaining their friendships. Our frontline practitioners, working with children at risk of exploitation, teaching in schools, or offering support in the justice system, are acutely aware of the growing risks.

All our services must address the complex interactions of the online and offline world.

Catch22 is focussed on building a safer online world through prevention and intervention, and by creating safe ways for young people to communicate, express themselves, and positively connect with their communities, online and offline.


“In our schools and community services, across victim support and child exploitation work, we are seeing more and more young people relying on the internet and the platforms that go with it, and reporting disturbing behaviour online. 

“There are is still a huge lack of knowledge in this space and at a time when we need the huge benefits of an online world – connectivity, a sense of community, and access to education – we must do what we can to stay one step ahead of the risks and keep young people safe.”

Catch22, Chief Executive, Chris Wright 


Catch22’s work in this space

The Social Switch Project 

Since 2019, funded Catch22 and Redthread to deliver The Social Switch Project across Greater London. The project empowers frontline practitioners who work with young people (such as teachers, youth workers, police officers and social workers) to discuss the challenges and risks of social media. It also works to empower young people to channel their creativity and focus their digital skills on developing careers in the field, and to shape more positive behaviour online.

Recognising the programme’s impact, the Mayor of London and Violence Reduction Unit are now supporting the next phase of the programme.

“London’s Violence Reduction Unit is focused on addressing the complex causes which lie behind young people becoming involved with, or being victims of violent crime. That’s why we are investing in the Social Switch Project, which supports young people in building their creative and digital skills and which will continue to help many more young Londoners reach their true potential.”

Lib Peck, Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit 


Read more on our work in this space here