Child Protection Lead Responds to Report on Child Abuse
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has released a report today saying that imagery of primary school aged children sexually abusing themselves on camera has soared by more than 1,000 per cent since 2019. Below, DCC Ian Critchley responds to these findings and details how police are working to tackle this type of offending.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley, said:
“The fight against online child sexual abuse will never stop and these figures only serve to highlight the focus and priority that society must place on tackling these awful crimes. This type of offending devastates and destroys lives.
“Policing has made huge strides forward but there is still more to be done. We have invested significantly in our dedicated online child abuse teams, our digital forensics capabilities, and our undercover online teams. Our staff do this tough work because they care about keeping children safe, identifying offenders, and bringing them to court. On average we arrest 900 offenders, and safeguard 1,127 young people each month. Our message to offenders is this: we will find you.
“Whilst we are working hard to target offenders and safeguard children, we need everyone to play their part in having conversations with young people. Education is fundamental to ensuring their safety online.
“The Online Safety Bill offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the internet a safer place. It is imperative that the responsibility of safeguarding children online is placed with the companies who create spaces for them.
“If you are reading this and have concerns about your thoughts and behaviours online, seek help. There is support available to stop you before you offend. We see the devastation left behind when a family member is arrested for this type of crime.
“We are committed to protecting all children and tracking down anyone who seeks to harm them.”