The former Labour MP Eric Joyce is facing a prison sentence and has been ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register after he admitted to making an indecent image of a child.

The 59-year-old, who was MP for Falkirk in Scotland between 2000 and 2012, pleaded guilty at Ipswich crown court to the offence, which took place between 7 August 2013 and 6 November 2018.

Judge Emma Peters said the single 51-second film, found on a device, “depicts a number of children”.

Judge Peters warned the former shadow minister, of Worlingworth, Suffolk, that the offence crossed the custody threshold. “It’s going to be a question of whether it’s immediate or suspended,” she said.

“You will be required to sign paperwork today acknowledging that you are immediately on the sex offenders’ register,” she said.

She said the court “takes such incidents very seriously” as they “fuel the abuse of children”.

Mr Joyce will be sentenced in August 2020.

This is just one of the 500 arrests of sexual offenders made by the National Crime Agency and the police every month.

This guilty plea is particularly relevant, as we mentioned in a previous blog, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has estimated at least 300,000 individuals in the UK may target children for sexual abuse. This figure could even have increased during the coronavirus pandemic as the original estimate was made before social distancing measures were put in place creating a greater risk of child sexual exploitation taking place online.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) material is prevalent on the internet with research from the NCA showing that it can take just three clicks to access this sort of material. Perpetrators are also opening discussing opportunities to commit offences in online chatrooms.

CSE can cause victims significant psychological harm which will continue to affect them throughout their lives. As experts in child abuse claims, we have found that pursuing a claim for damages can often help our clients bring a sense of closure on their experience and also provide the vital funds for any therapy or medical costs required.

Our team has experience of dealing with child sexual abuse claims, including online abuse and abuse by grooming gangs.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of online sexual abuse, including child grooming, revenge porn or covert recording, you can discuss a potential claim with one of our experienced solicitors. We know it can be very difficult to talk about what happened so we ensure all enquiries are discussed with sensitivity and in the strictest confidence. Call our specialist abuse line on 0330 134 6430 or email us today.