Offences against Children

Home Office written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Labour, Rotherham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will estimate the number of people posing a sexual threat to children (a) online and (b) offline in the UK.

Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Labour, Rotherham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of money allocated from the public purse for the prevention of child sexual abuse and exploitation was spent on disrupting perpetrators in the most recent period for which such information is available.

Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Labour, Rotherham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has (a) geographically mapped the prevalence of different methodologies for perpetrating child sexual abuse in the UK as set out in the National Crime Agency’s National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime 2018 and (b) discrete plans for tackling each such methodology of perpetration.

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

There are over 58,000 Registered Sex Offenders in the UK. A conservative estimate of the National Crime Agency (NCA) is that around 80,000 people in the UK present some kind of sexual threat to children online, while the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse estimates that 15% of girls and 5% of boys experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 16.

In February 2017, the Government published its Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation: Progress Report and announced a £40m package of measures to protect children and young people from sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking, and to crack down on offenders. In September 2018, the Government announced an additional £21.5m investment in law enforcement to reduce the volume of offending and pursue the most hardened and dangerous abusers.

The Government has made significant progress in tackling child sexual exploitation. We have prioritised child sexual abuse as a national threat to empower law enforcement to tackle these crimes, developed world-leading technology such as the child abuse image database (CAID) to tackle online child sexual abuse, and built the capabilities of our law enforcement and intelligence partners to bring the highest-harm offenders to justice.

The Government continue to engage closely with a range of partners including law enforcement, charities and academics to build our understanding of the evolving threat in order to do all we can to protect children and stop offenders.

In 2017 the government established the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse with £7.5 million of funding. Headed by Barnardo’s, the centre works to improve our understanding of the scale and nature of pathways into child sexual offending and what works to prevent and tackle it, including developing a typology of child sexual offending which will support a more targeted response by the police and other agencies.

We will publish a national strategy setting out how we will galvanise local, national and international efforts to prevent, tackle and respond to all forms of Child Sexual Abuse, which will be supported by the announcement on 4 September 2019 of an additional £30 million to safeguard children from child sexual exploitation and abuse. Increasing funding for cutting-edge technology and the best intelligence and law enforcement capabilities will enable police officers to continue to target the worst and most sophisticated offenders.

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