245 children safeguarded and 192 arrests for child sex abuse offences: The use of live streaming platforms by online sex offenders is increasing and there is an urgent need to educate children about the risks associated with this new threat, warn child protection experts.
During a recent week of intensification to tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse, police and NCA operations across the UK safeguarded 245 children and arrested 192 people, 18 of whom were in a position of trust. 30% of those cases involved some of the highest harm offences including live streaming, blackmail and grooming.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, said: “In just one week, police forces and the NCA arrested 192 offenders on suspicion of child sexual abuse offences and prevented 245 children from coming to harm. We will keep working together to do this, adapting our approach so that nowhere online is safe for people out to groom children or view them being abused.
“But we also need help. We need internet companies to help us stop access to sexual abuse images and videos and prevent abuse happening on their platforms. We need parents and carers to talk to their children about healthy relationships and staying safe online.”
In an online NCA survey, 84% of parent respondents said they were alert to the potential dangers their children face online. But child protection experts are warning that knowledge goes out of date more quickly than many people realise because the online environment is now changing so quickly.
“We know that as children’s online habits change, offenders are adapting with them. These individuals are learning how young people communicate online and are using this knowledge to contact, befriend and abuse them,” said Zoe Hilton, Head of Safeguarding at the National Crime Agency.
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