Resignation announcement from our Chief Executive

Four years ago, when I accepted the position of Chief Executive of CEASE, I had no idea what was in store. After all, most of the events that would shape my time in the job were yet to appear:

A global movement to expose sex trafficking and child abuse on the world’s most popular pornography site had yet to take off. The Online Safety Bill – a powerful route to protecting UK children from the harms of pornography – was still just a White Paper. And Coronavirus: I’d never heard of it! 

Reflecting on how different the world felt in 2019 when I started, to how it feels now, I am struck by two things that have remained the same:

First, sexual exploitation is not a faraway problem. It is in touching distance, on our phones and tablets, and reaches into our neighbourhoods, schools and offices. 

Second, it hit close to home and I was committed to fighting it.

Since its foundation four years ago, CEASE has become a credible and visible force against sexual exploitation and it has been an honour to lead it. But I always knew that as well as being a marathon rather than a sprint, this work would have to be a relay race, not a solo run. 

And that is why, after an unforgettable four years, I am stepping down and handing on the baton to the next leader of CEASE. 

Although the challenges of fighting exploitation are great, the opportunities for real change really are within our grasp. Especially now, as the harm and exploitation of pornography is being witnessed by the Government, the media, parents, teachers, health professionals and young people. We are full of hope and courage.

At the end of April I will step down, not from the movement to end sexual exploitation but from this particular role in it. I want to thank the people who have made these years, in all honesty, life-changing. Especially, the many sector colleagues, campaigners, experts, journalists and lawmakers here and internationally. The CEASE Team and Board, past and present: it has been a joy to work alongside you. And above all, to the survivors of sexual exploitation – who alone really know the score. Thank you. 

And now, onwards… The next phase of CEASE’s life is unfolding at speed. Recruitment of the new Chief Executive of CEASE will begin imminently, so if you want to know more about leading this fantastic charity, make sure you’re following our social media channels.