There has been a large increase in the amount of child abuse material being produced and shared online. The UK’s child abuse image database is growing by 500,000 every two months.
The term ‘child abuse’ is used by the NSPCC to describe a situation whereby a child is intentionally harmed by an adult or another child. The abuse perpetrated can be physical, sexual, or emotional and can take place in person or online.
The rise in online cases can be seen to correspond with the increasing number of children relying upon the internet for their day-to-day lives during lockdown.
Between April and September 2020, 4,700 people, (nearly all men), were arrested for online child abuse offences and more than 6,000 children were safeguarded.
Many of these offenders pose as children online, targeting primarily girls aged between 11-13, to for example post pictures and videos of a sexual nature.
The current increase in the use of live streams is also of particular concern to Rob Jones, the National Crime Agency child abuse lead. He notes that paedophiles have been known to use such platforms to watch children being abused online, particularly children in poorer countries.
Though there has been a recent increase in the amount of child abuse perpetrated online, (for which the current lockdown situation can be seen to have contributed to), unfortunately such exploitation is not a new phenomenon and can also happen in person. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that one in five adults aged 18-74 years experienced at least one form of child abuse, whether emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or witnessed domestic violence or abuse, before the age of 16 years.
If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about making a claim concerning child abuse, please contact our specialist team today on 0330 134 6430 or contact us by email.