THE mother of a schoolboy groomed online then murdered in Grays hopes a video about it can warn others.
The short film about Surrey teenager Breck Bednar is being made by Surrey, Essex and Northamptonshire Police forces combining on the project – managed by Leicestershire Police which made the award-winning film Kayleigh’s Love Story.
The film is being made with the active support of Breck’s mother Lorin LaFave, who will appear as herself in the film and who set up the Breck Foundation shortly after her son’s tragic death in Grays in 2014.
Lorin told Heart: “We really want to highlight the fact that boys can be groomed too. I think a lot of people think it doesn’t happen to them, maybe it happens less often or maybe they’re not reporting it.
“So many of our young people are speaking to strangers online and we need them to recognise that these strangers aren’t all dangerous but we don;t know which ones are and which ones aren’t.
“We have to treat them as if we don’t really know who they are and not believe everything they say.”
‘Breck’s Last Game’ is being funded by Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach with additional contributions from Surrey Police.
The film comes two years after Leicestershire Police produced Kayleigh’s Love Story, a film about the grooming, rape and murder of 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood, which has led directly to 50 children in Leicestershire coming forward and disclosing that they were being groomed by predators.
The film has been viewed by an estimated 36.6m people worldwide and has won eight national industry awards.
Lorin added: “When I first learned about Kayleigh’s tragic story of grooming online, and saw the amazing short film Kayleigh’s Love Story, I knew I wanted similar exposure for Breck’s tragedy as I believe only through education of grooming and exploitation can we strive to empower our young people to keep safer online.
“Because the characteristics of grooming are similar, with the control, manipulation, befriending, compliments, gifts, building a relationship through shared interests and laughs, I felt that a boy’s version with gaming and computing was a natural follow on to Kayleigh’s version of a girl being groomed through social media for a relationship.
“I am so thankful to Leicestershire Police and the other police forces for enabling this film to happen and I look forward to working together to create a safer online for our children.”
Casting sessions will be held in January and it is anticipated that the film will be completed by mid-March.
Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Worron, head of Essex Police’s Crime and Public Protection Command, said: “We know that boys are less willing to report CSE offences than girls. When Leicestershire Police approached us having spoken with Lorin LaFave about making a film specifically to reach out to boys we wanted to be involved.
“I hope the film will be as successful as Kayleigh’s Love Story in raising awareness and warning boys about the dangers of online grooming.”