Online child abuse reports continue to rise
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) claims it’s seen a massive rise in reported child abuse incidents.
The agency has received 6,291 reports this year compared to 5,411 from the same period a year ago, although the protection agency put the rising numbers down to improved reporting as much as increased abuse.
The most worrying reports included 1,536 cases that related to grooming and 135 that ivolved making arrangements to meet a child offline. 434 reports concerned inciting children to perform sexual acts.
There’s an ongoing need to educate and inform young people about the risk of posting inappropriate images of themselves online
The Strategic Overview said that around 40% of reports came from the public – mostly via the ClickCEOP panic button – but the overall increase in cases came from a rise in industry reporting from online moderators, website hosts and mobile phone companies.
Although the reporting process might have improved, there are still worrying issues for youngsters online, including a growing trend of posting explicit “self-taken” images.
“The scale and nature of reports received by CEOP’s child protection specialists demonstrate an ongoing need to educate and inform young people about the risk of posting inappropriate images of themselves online,” Jim Gamble, out-going CEOP chief executive.
“Unfortunately we have seen cases where these photos and videos have ended up in the wrong hands – those collecting child-abuse images.”
Given the fact that CEOP is soon to be merged into a National Crime Agency umbrella and Gamble has only weeks left in the job following his resignation in protest over the merger, it would be easy to view the timing of the report as self-promoting, but a spokesperson told PC Pro that the report was an annual publication.