Issued on 3/4/19 at 9:00 a.m.
Breck’s Last Game, a short film about a 14-year-old boy who was murdered by a man he met on a gaming site, has been made available online.
The film was made to raise awareness of online grooming and carries an important message – do you really know who your online friends are?
It was provided to schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland from September last year as part of a wider resource pack and has already been shown to thousands of children as part of controlled screenings.
At 9am this morning (Wednesday 3 April), the four-minute film was made available to the wider public.
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon said: “Not all cases of grooming will result in someone being killed and not everyone online poses a threat. But, as Breck’s case sadly shows, the risks are all too real, the consequences of online grooming can be absolutely horrific, and this is not an issue we can shy away from.
“We cannot expect, nor can we mandate children and young people to understand they have been groomed or that what is happening to them is abuse. Nor can we expect parents to interpret and analyse with perfect clarity the different risks posed by different channels that groomers use.
“What we can do is make advice as accessible as possible. That’s what we hope to achieve with Breck’s Last Game, while addressing the under-reporting of child sexual exploitation (CSE) among boys which continues to be an issue for services nationally and locally.”
Breck’s Last Game is about Surrey teenager Breck Bednar who was killed by Essex computer engineer Lewis Daynes in 2014.
Daynes ran an online server where Breck, and several of his friends, played games online. It was through this forum that Daynes groomed Breck over 13 months – telling him a series of lies, turning him against family and friends and eventually luring him to his flat on the promise of handing over a fake business.
Through the use of avatars, the film captures the events leading up to Breck’s death and also features the real 999 call made to police by Daynes.
The film has been successfully rolled-out in schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. By the end of the summer term, more than 27,000 children are expected to have seen it with schools delivering screenings as part of a comprehensive lesson plan designed to raise awareness of online grooming and exploitation.
Many secondary schools now also intend to embed the resource into their yearly curriculum and have spoken of the impact it has had.
Heidi Broadfield, of Brockington College in Enderby, said: “We have used Breck’s Last Game to deliver such an important message to the pupils through our PSHCE lessons and we very much hope they will all be safer as a result.
“Although it is obviously a very serious subject, the pupils have taken positive steps and really learnt a lot from it and feel better able to remain safe online. As a teacher, I found it interesting and vital to teach, especially from the angle that we were not trying to scare the pupils but instead empower them to understand how to use the internet safely and also, seek assistance, and know where to obtain help from, if required.”
The project is the result of an innovative collaboration between four police forces – Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Essex and Surrey – and has been made with the active support of Breck’s mother Lorin LaFave, who appears in the film as herself.
Lorin said: “The Breck Foundation is so pleased that thousands of children have already benefited from learning important life lessons through Breck’s story by viewing and engaging in our film Breck’s Last Game.
“We are positive with the film going public that millions of young people can also be educated and empowered to realise that they can play an important role in the well-being and safety of themselves and friends by recognising signs of grooming and exploitation and disclosing concerns to a trusted adult, school, police and CEOP.
“We hope that Breck’s lessons reach far and wide so that children themselves help stop online predators from harming children.” The film has been funded by Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, with additional contributions from Northamptonshire, Essex and Surrey police forces, and until now online a short trailer was publicly available.
Lord Bach said: “Every single one of us has a responsibility to protect children and young people from abuse of any kind. As this film evocatively illustrates, abuse is not confined to girls. Sadly however, many boys and young male victims will suffer in silence rather than seek help which means they don’t receive any support and the perpetrator escapes justice.
“If we can teach young people that all is not always what it seems, we give the knowledge to protect themselves, whether that is in the street or on-line. A film can do this very effectively.
“I also hope that the film will safeguard young males from harm and encourage any victims to speak out and report their experiences, so that we can stamp out this evil behaviour. This is another really good piece of work and I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to produce it.”
For more information about the film, how to spot the signs of online grooming and what to do you you’re concerned about a child you know, visit our Breck’s Last Game section.