A Buckinghamshire survivor of sexual abuse is leading a demand for tech corporations to enhance their social media platforms' child safety measures.

The survivor, who was sexually exploited via the encrypted messaging app WhatsApp at 13, has unified a cohort of 43 other survivors of online child exploitation, 61 international child safety organisations and academics, to sign a letter to tech executives.

The letter urges companies to collaborate with survivors to assess their current and upcoming products' child safety risks, including encrypted messaging services.

Among the signatories is 32-year-old online safety campaigner 'Elaine', a pseudonym used to shield her identity.

At the age of 15, she was manipulated into sending images to an older man.

Elaine shared her experience and said: "I was 13 when I was groomed online by a 31-year-old man.

"He spent months grooming me before arranging to meet me and sexually abusing me. I thought I could trust him and that we were in a loving relationship.

“My perpetrator was convicted but it was a long time before I realised what had happened wasn’t right.

"The long-term impact of the abuse was profound, and affected how I viewed relationships and my mental health as an adult.

“After a lot of time and therapy, I am now in a good place but my experiences show the serious long-term impact online abuse can have.”

Reflecting on the repercussions of her abuse, she highlighted its long-term impact on her relationships and her mental health in adulthood.

She emphasised that her experience demonstrates the long-term damage that online abuse can inflict.

Executives at technology giants such as Meta, Signal, Snap, and Apple, are among the recipients of the letter.

Other key signatories include a collective of survivors known as Phoenix 11, whose sexual exploitation was filmed and circulated online, and survivors working with child protection charity, NSPCC, as online safety advocates.

Prominent signees include the Alliance to Counter Crime Online, Barnardo’s, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Collective Shout, ECPAT International, Eurochild, and The Network for Children's Rights, among others.

The call to action arises in the context of soaring online child exploitation rates in the UK, which have witnessed an 82 per cent surge in online grooming offences against children and a 66 per cent escalation in child abuse image offences recorded by UK police over the past five years.

NSPCC CEO, Sir Peter Wanless, declared the importance of legislative action, stating that legislators must seize available opportunities to bolster children's online protection.

He added that in anticipation of legislative changes, technology companies must proactively implement safeguards to protect all users, particularly children and victims of abuse.