A film about how a 15-year-old Leicestershire schoolgirl was groomed online by a stranger and subsequently raped and murdered has made available to watch online and could be used as an educational resource.
“Kayleigh’s Love Story” was created by Leicestershire Police to serve as a warning of grooming and sexual exploitation to children and parents following the tragic death of Kayleigh Haywood in November 2015. The film tells how Kayleigh received an unsolicited message via Facebook from a local 27-year-old man, Luke Harlow. During the next 13 days, Harlow bombarded Kayleigh with messages containing expressions of affection before she finally agreed to spend the evening at his house. She ended up staying there for some 36 hours before fleeing in the early hours, only to be pursued by Harlow’s neighbour 28-year-old Stephen Beadman. A short while later, Beadman dragged Kayleigh into some nearby woods, where he raped and then murdered the schoolgirl.
Leicestershire Police have been showing the film to secondary schoolchildren in Leicester, via tightly-controlled screenings run by a team of eight, specially-trained Police Community Support Officers. Leicestershire Police felt that it was critical that the film was shared in structured screenings with children where staff could discuss with children the issues raised by the film and provide support and advice. Following these screening, 35 “disclosures” have been made by children to the police and these are currently being investigated.
Leicestershire’s Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said: “Since controlled screenings of the film began, we have been overwhelmed by the positive reaction from children, parents, teachers and partner agencies. We have also been inundated with requests for the full version of the film from individuals and organisations throughout the world. What happened to Kayleigh was horrific but we are pleased that some good is coming from the awful tragedy and that this film is raising far greater awareness of the dangers of online grooming and the signs that it may be happening. They are signs that we can all look out for and do something about – before it is too late.”
A signed version, an audio described version and versions of the film translated into five languages – Polish, Hindi, Guajarati, Urdu and Punjabi – is available on the force’s YouTube page.
We suggest that this video may suitable for schools and other professionals to use with staff, parents/carers and secondary aged pupils. Leicestershire Police suggest the film would be rated as “15” but have shown the video to pupils within structured sessions aged 11+. We therefore recommend that staff view the video in full to ensure its use it suitable and appropriate before using it with any pupils.
Staff should be aware that this resource is hard-hitting and it’s use may lead to disclosures. Therefore staff should ensure that they are familiar with their school’s safeguarding and child protection procedures before use. This video should be used by staff who have accessed appropriate child protection and online safety training and be used as part of an embedded and progressive online safety education. We recommend that this resource is used where possible, within small group situations such as PSHE lessons or tutor time, as within an assembly context it could place children at risk, such as if they become distressed or disclosed abuse.
If Kent Schools wish to discuss online safety further then please contact the Education Safeguarding Team.