Offences against Children: Internet

Home Department written question – answered on 7th April 2014.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Conservative, South Northamptonshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to work with police forces across the country to protect children from online sexual exploitation. [Official Report, 9 July 2014, Vol. 584, c. 3-4MC.]

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Minister of State, Home Department

The Government is committed to preventing online child abuse. Details of the Government plans to strengthen the protection of children from online sexual exploitation were published last summer in the Action Plan of the National Group to tackle Sexual Violence Against Children and Vulnerable People. Copies will be placed in the House Library and can be found at the following link;

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/230443/Sexual_Violence_against_Children_ and_Vulnerable_People.pdf

The Child Exploitation Online Protection Command of the National Crime Agency (NCA-CEOP) is the UK's national law enforcement agency committed to preventing and tackling the sexual abuse of children both online and offline. In 2012/13, NCA-CEOP safeguarded and protected 790 children, an increase of 85% on the previous year.

The NCA-CEOP Command works closely with all 43 police forces in England and Wales, Police Scotland and PSNI.

In January 2013, the police created a National Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan which sought to improve the police response to all forms of CSE both online and offline. Each force has now completed a benchmarking exercise, allowing them to understand and improve their capability to deal with CSE.

HMIC are close to completing an inspection into the policing of online sexual exploitation and should be publishing their findings in the near future. This will help us identify best practice and also where the service needs to improve to deal with the proliferation of indecent images on the internet and grooming.

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