I have previously reported upon the increase in the number of reports of child abuse images online, during the pandemic, although we now have further shocking figures that will cause alarm to all parents. There is very helpful advice on how to keep your child safe online, which becomes increasingly important as we see the scale of the problem reported by the Internet Watch Foundation (“IWF”).
The IWF works hard to find and remove images and videos of child sexual abuse from the Internet although many videos and images will go undetected, causing immeasurable harm to children and young people. I know from acting on behalf of children and adults, who have been abused in childhood, that childhood sexual abuse can cause long-term health issues, with significant ramifications into their adult life.
Therefore, it is important that children who are exposed to online child sexual abuse, report their concerns and action taken to provide help to the child, and their family. The government has increased mental health funding over the last few years but invariably this is still insufficient to meet the individual needs of a child. Therefore, pursuit of a compensation claim can be made to help fund specialist private counselling and therapy.
Online child abuse statistics
The statistics are shocking. Shocking in terms of the number of reports made of online videos and images of child sexual abuse, but also of the potential harm caused to those children who are subjected to this material.
- Figures published in May 2020 revealed that in the last three years there have been 10,019 offences of sexual communication with a child;
- In the 11 weeks from 23 March 2020, the IWF logged 44,809 reports of child abuse images
- In 2020 IWF processed 299,600 reports, including those made by the public. This is an increase of 15% on the previous year
- Of these 299,600 reports, 153,350 contain images and/or videos of children being sexually abused. This is an increase of 16% on the previous year.
- Every report of online child sexual abuse contains between one, and thousands of child sexual abuse images and videos
- 68,000 reports were tagged as including “self generated” child sexual abuse content. This is a 77% increase in 2019.
Tackling online child abuse
Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF said, “This year, our analysts have warned there are whole online communities of sexual predators who devote themselves to finding and tracking down children on the internet, so as to bully and coerce them into abusing themselves sexually.
“These criminals can now groom a child who is in the apparent safety of their own bedroom, into making videos of the most serious kinds of abuse.”
More needs to be done in order to protect our children and therefore it is pleasing to record that in January 2021 the government announced a new strategy to tackle child sexual abuse, including investment in a Child Abuse Images Database to identify offenders and to track them down. The government also plans to make it easier for parents and carers to find out if someone has a sexual offences record.
These are developments that will be well received by politicians and parents alike but we must not overlook the long-term harm that can be caused by these wicked crimes and therefore a mixture of NHS support and a private compensation claim for childhood sexual abuse well provide practical help, to support a child recover from online abuse.
Contact our Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers today
Contact our no win, no fee child abuse solicitors now, for advice on how to make a claim for the harm caused by abuse, including strangulation, or to simply consider what options and possibilities are available, without any obligation. Call us today on 0333 123 9099, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our online form.