Offences against Children: Internet

Home Office written question – answered on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Labour, Rotherham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the scale of child sexual abuse images online.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

We have already made significant progress in combating online child sex abuse and exploitation, but it’s clear that we have much, much more to do.

The WePROTECT Global Alliance Global Threat Assessment 2018 highlighted that the scale, complexity and danger of the online child sexual abuse threat has increased over the past three years. This has been facilitated through the ubiquity of mobile devices, anonymous access and encryption.

In 2017, 82,109 individual industry referrals were received by the National Crime Agency (NCA), from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a 700% increase since 2013.

The Government has invested £7.5m in a ground-breaking Centre of Expertise to identify, generate, and share high-quality evidence of what works to prevent and tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Centre published a revised assessment of the scale and nature of child sexual abuse in August 2018, which highlighted that online is a new context for child sexual abuse and exploitation and is generating new forms of abuse which are difficult to track accurately. Measuring the scale of abuse in the UK will be an ongoing priority for the Centre.

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