Child sexual abuse image crimes rise by 20 per cent in Warwickshire - The Leamington Observer

Child sexual abuse image crimes rise by 20 per cent in Warwickshire

Leamington Editorial 5th Mar, 2024   0

THE NUMBER of child sexual abuse image crimes recorded by Warwickshire Police increased by one fifth last year, new data obtained by the NSPCC has revealed.

More than 450 offences where child abuse images were collected and distributed, were logged by the force in 2022/23 according to Freedom of Information data.

Since 2017/18, when the NSPCC first called for social media regulation, a total of 1,863 crimes have been recorded by Warwickshire Police while children and families have waited for online safety laws.

The charity said the figures show the need for swift and ambitious action by tech companies to address what is currently happening on their platforms and for Ofcom to significantly strengthen its approach to tackling child sexual abuse through effective enforcement of the Online Safety Act.




The number of child sexual abuse image crimes recorded by UK police increased by a quarter last year.

More than 33,000 offences where child abuse images were collected and distributed, were logged in 2022/23.


Where police disclosed the site involved, Snapchat was flagged in almost half (44%) of instances – over 4,000 times. Meta-owned products (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) were flagged more than 2,500 times, making up a quarter of known instances.

The NSPCC said that disrupting online child sexual abuse taking place at increasing levels will require regulated tech platforms to introduce systemic changes to their products to stop them being used to organise, commit, and share child abuse.

A consultation into Ofcom’s first codes for companies to adopt to disrupt child sexual abuse on their platforms closed last week.

The NSPCC want these measures introduced without delay but urged Ofcom to begin work on a second version of the codes that will require companies to go much further.

The charity said companies should be required to use technology that can help identify and tackle grooming, sextortion and new child abuse images.

NSPCC chief executive Sir Peter Wanless said: “It’s alarming to see online child abuse continue to rise, especially when tech companies should be acting to make their sites safe by design ahead of incoming regulation.

“Behind these crimes are children who have been targeted by adults who are able to organise and share sexual abuse with other offenders seamlessly across social media and messaging apps.

“The Online Safety Act sets out robust measures to make children fundamentally safer on the sites and apps they use so they can enjoy the benefits of a healthy online experience.

“Ofcom has been quick off the blocks but must act with greater ambition to ensure companies prioritise child safety in the comprehensive way that is so desperately needed.”

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