12/01/2004

Internet to blame for rise in child abuse, says study

The widespread use of the internet is to blame for a 1,500% rise in child pornography convictions in the UK since 1988, according to a leading children's charity.

In a report published today, children's charity NCH, formerly the National Children's Home, claimed that internet use has brought about "a major increase" in the abuse of children and the widespread use of paedophile material.

The report stated that in 1988, 35 people were prosecuted – but this rose to 549 in 2001. In total, between 1988 and 2001, NCH says that 3,022 people were either cautioned or prosecuted for child pornography offences. The massive increase in the distribution of abusive images has seen paedophiles stockpile more and more graphic images – the report cited how one Lincolnshire man, when arrested last year, was found to have 450,000 images on his computer.

The scale of the problem was also revealed during the UK/US joint probe, Operation Ore, which has led to more than 2,300 arrests. Police were originally handed the names of 6,500 people who had used credit cards to buy child abuse images from one website.

Due to the global use of the internet, detection, prevention, identification and rescue of paedophile victims has become harder. But worse, the NCH says, the internet has fuelled demand for abusive images which has led to ever greater levels of abuse.

The NCH said: "Modern society has always found it difficult to detect and prevent child sex abuse, the majority of which has taken place within existing family or social circles or in certain institutional settings.

"The arrival of the internet has added to this difficulty by opening up new ways for paedophiles to reach and abuse children."

The study called on governing bodies and the internet industry to toughen up against child abusers, and urged parents and teachers to educate children on how to use the internet in a safe manner.

(gmcg)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 June 2012
Report Warns Of Link Between Internet Use And Child Abuse
A specialist police child protection unit has warned that people who download child abuse images pose a risk of committing sex attacks on children. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre wants police to prioritise those caught with such images, who have access to children.
18 November 2013
PM To Host Internet Safety Summit
The Prime Minister will host a key summit at Downing Street where he will welcome the progress made by internet service providers, leading search engines and police agencies to better protect children from harmful material online and block child abuse and other illegal content but will warn that there is still more to do.
01 April 2005
Home Office launches crack down on Net paedophiles
The Home Office has announced new measures to protect children from being 'groomed' by internet paedophiles. As part of the plans new Centre for Child Protection on the Internet will be set up to provide support for the police and child protection agencies.
13 December 2006
Ban sought on child abuse images
The government is to seek a ban on computer-generated images of child abuse, Home Secretary John Reid has announced.
24 April 2006
New centre launched to target internet paedophiles
A new agency has been launched by the Home Office to tackle child sex abuse and internet paedophiles. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre is being headed by Jim Gamble, former Deputy Director General of the National Crime Squad.