Rise in child abuse on webcams

There has been a rise in use of webcams and live video streaming for sexually abusing children, according to a new report. It found that vulnerable children in developing countries were often targeted by abusers over the internet.

Sexual abuse of children 'can take place purely online'

Peter Davies, head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), said there was now a "class of child abusers very proficient in technology" who are consistently trying to evade authorities by finding new means of accessing children.

Speaking to Daybreak, he said: "The old model, with a view of meeting online with a view to meeting offline and then physical abuse taking place is actually a diminishing, these days sexual abuse of children can take place purely online."

Child abuse 'most hidden crime of our society'

Peter Saunders from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), has called for the government to allocate more funding to police services working to tackle the growing number of children being abused on webcams and live video streaming technology online.

Speaking on Daybreak, he said: "The crime of child abuse is possibly the most hidden crime of our society....We have a lot of work in society to do."

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'Sickening' child abuse must not remain hidden

Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green has outlined steps he is taking to ensure that "sickening" sexual crimes against children do not remain hidden.

Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green
Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

He said: "Police are bringing more cases before the courts and significant sentences are being handed down to perpetrators.

"But more needs to be done. Ceop is doing excellent work and we will see its capability strengthened when it is transferred to the National Crime Agency later this year.

"I am leading a new Home Office group which is urgently looking at how we better identify those at risk, create a more victim-focused culture within the police, health and children's services, improve data-sharing and address cultural barriers to uncovering abuse."

Charity: Police must improve reporting of child abuse

Javed Khan, chief executive of independent charity Victim Support, has said that police forces in the UK need to improve their reporting of child abuse crimes in order to build up a more accurate national picture:

It is sadly no surprise that the threat of child sexual abuse and exploitation is increasing in the UK ...

But the police service must also ask itself some searching questions. It's first priority is to prevent and detect crime.

Yet the national threat assessment has had to fill gaps because of inconsistencies in the way forces collect, record and categorise child sex abuse offences ...

Every police force must therefore contribute fully and consistently to the national intelligence picture. Only then will we have a true picture of the scale of the problem.

– Javed Khan, victim support

Ceop concerned by rise in use of 'hidden internet'

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) has said it in concerned by the rise in the use of the 'hidden internet' - heavily encrypted forums and pages that allow abusers to cover their tracks.

UK daily users connecting to secret or encrypted networks increased by two thirds in 2012, Ceop reported, although not all of these will use the hidden internet for criminal means.

This number is set to reach to 20,000 by the end of this year.

Report: 70,000 child abuse images and videos shared

Every year the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) produces an assessment of child abuse.

Here are some of the findings relating to the UK from the latest report:

  • 8,000 reports of indecent images of children being shared in 2012
  • 70,000 images and videos shared - a two-fold increase on 2011
  • 20,000 daily users of encrypted forums by end of 2013 (not all for child abuse purposes)
  • 70% increase in the number of female victims under the age of 10 over three years to December 2012

Read: Report: More abusers using webcams to exploit children

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Report: More abusers using webcams to exploit children

Child sexual abuse streamed live over the internet on services like Skype has been flagged as an emerging threat by experts.

The reports found that abusers are increasingly using live video services to exploit children
The reports found that abusers are increasingly using live video services to exploit children Credit: Kirby Urner

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) - the police division charged with tackling child abuse - reports that it has seen in increase in this type of activity in 2012.

In its annual threat assessment of child sexual exploitation and abuse, Ceop said that offenders tend to target vulnerable families overseas to set up live access to children over webcams in exchange for payment.

Often these families are in developing countries in areas with extreme poverty, rising levels of access to the internet and poor child protection policies, the report said.

Read the full report here.

Read: ITV News poll shows 73% would internet controls on pornographic content