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NSPCC: Internet used to commit 3000 child sex crimes in 2015

According to figures released by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), the internet was used as a platform to commit around 3000 sex crimes against children in the UK in 2015/16.

“Cyber-flagging”

At the start of April 2015, the Home Office made the recording of any sexual crime against a child that involves the use of the internet a mandatory requirement within UK police forces. This process is known as ‘cyber flagging’, and is used by police to get a better understanding of the extent of online offences against children under 18.

Figures released in a report by the NSPCC revealed that over the last year, an average of 8 cyber based sex crimes were reported to police each day, with some forces recording hundreds of crimes. However, other forces received fewer than 10 reports over the year period and other forces admitted to not knowing about, or utilising, the cyber flagging method.

3000 child sex offences reported

Of the 44 police forces across England and Wales, 38 responded to the freedom of information request for figures on how many internet-based sexual crimes had been committed against children in 2015/2016.

Offences included inciting children to take part in a sex act, sexual assaults and grooming victims before meeting them. Over 100 rapes of children were also reported.

Offenders used the internet as a gateway to commit sex crimes against victims as young as one year old. In total, 535 reported cyber abuse cases were committed against thirteen year olds and 272 victims were under the age of ten.

Increased online activity

With children spending an increasing amount of time online and on social media, charities such as the NSPCC are urging police forces across the country to ensure that their officers are recording and investigating sex crimes against children effectively.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive said:

“These figures confirm our fears that the online world is playing a significant role in the sexual abuse of children in the UK.

“It’s clear that a large volume of sexual assaults and rapes of children have involved the use of the internet – for example by grooming victims before abusing them offline, or live-streaming the abuse.

“We know grooming is on the rise because children are increasingly telling our ChildLine service how they are being targeted online. Predatory adults posing as children try to meet them or blackmail them into meeting up or performing sexual acts on webcams, which obviously terrifies them and can leave some feeling suicidal.

“By revealing this first year of data we hope to highlight how police are under increasing pressure to cope with online offences so we have to ensure they have the resources and training to make them fit for tackling crime in the 21st century.

“And government must make mental health support available to every child who has endured abuse – as we are calling for through our It’s Time campaign.”

Sexual Abuse Claims – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: NSPCC; The Guardian

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