Online child sex abuse on the rise

Child sexual abuse streamed live over the internet is increasing says the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) in its annual threat assessment of child sexual exploitation and abuse

Last year an increasing number of offenders have been targeting vulnerable families overseas to set up payment for live streaming of children through webcams.

In 2012, Ceop received 8,000 reports of indecent images of children being shared, featuring a two-fold increase in the number of images and videos on previous years to 70,000.

Ceop chief executive Peter Davies said:

“Our assessment shows that, sadly, there are still too many children at risk and too many people who would cause them serious harm. We should all practice zero tolerance to child sexual exploitation and abuse.”

CEOP also raised concerns about the use of the so-called hidden internet – heavily encrypted forums and pages that allow abusers to cover their tracks when accessing indecent images online.

UK daily users connecting to secret or encrypted networks increased by two thirds, one of the largest annual increases globally, the report said, with 20,000 daily UK users of such networks expected by the end of this year.

The report comes shortly after after five members of a seven-man sadistic paedophile ring found guilty of grooming vulnerable under-age girls were given life sentences at the Old Bailey. Two other defendants were both jailed for seven years.

An NSPCC spokeswoman said:

“It is crucial that our efforts to protect children from sexual abuse focus on deterrence and prevention and that our focus is the risk to children, both on and offline.”

For more information on our services to protect young people from online grooming click here.