Roughly 90 online abuse crimes a day recorded against children

14 January 2020, 00:04

Roughly 90 cyber crime abuses a day are recorded against children say the NSPCC
Roughly 90 cyber crime abuses a day are recorded against children say the NSPCC. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Roughly 90 online abuse crimes a day have been recorded against children since last April, the NSPCC estimates.

The shocking figures have been collated since the government introduced plans last year to tackle cyber crimes against children.

More than 25,300 child abuse images and sexual grooming offences have occurred since the release of the Online Harms White Paper, the charity predicts.

An average of one online abuse offence against a child was recorded every 16 minutes in England and Wales in just over nine months - a statistic based on police figures from April to June of 2019.

The online harms white paper includes a wide range of proposed measures to increase web safety, particularly in protecting young and vulnerable people from illegal content.

It also made tech giants liable to fines or criminal prosecution if they breach their responsibilities.

The government introduced a white paper to tackle online abuse
The government introduced a white paper to tackle online abuse. Picture: PA

"By our estimates, an average of 90 potential online abuse crimes against children come to light a day, so it is crystal clear regulation cannot come soon enough," said Andy Burrows, NSPCC head of child safety online policy.

"The prime minister must confirm plans to press ahead with a comprehensive duty of care, and urgently introduce an Online Harms Bill that will deliver a well-resourced regulator with the powers to take on big tech.

"Anything less will let tech giants off the hook and have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of children, their families and law enforcement who are left to fight increasingly complex online child abuse day in and day out."

It comes as the Online Harms Reduction Regulator Bill is set to be introduced into the House of Lords on Tuesday, a private members' Bill that the charity hopes will speed up the introduction of legislation.

Lord McNally, who will present the legislation said: "Nothing is more important that protecting children from harm.

"The NSPCC campaign has described not just the extent of the harm but also the solution - a duty of care on technology companies to keep children safe.

"My Bill will help the government move faster in delivering a duty of care to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

"I have made it clear to ministers that I am happy for my bill to make way for urgent government action.

"But there is not the mood in either House to accept drift and inaction on this important issue."