Cases of online grooming is on the rise, the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said today, after a new survey revealed that social workers felt concerned about dealing with online sexual abuse.
BASW professional officer Nushra Mansuri said:
The number of cases in which the internet plays a part in the grooming and abuse of children is rising, and social workers need to be equipped to recognise the warning signs.
Social work educators and employers must keep pace with new technology, and training on the risks posed by social media should be an intrinsic part of learning.
Children's charity NSPCC has said it has developed an online training guide for child protection professionals - backed by the British Association of Social Workers BASW - to educate social about the risks the internet posed to children.
A new survey of social workers revealed that half of them felt concerned about dealing with online sexual abuse or behaviour.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "Keeping children safe from sexual abuse increasingly means protecting them from offenders who use technology to target their victims, such as grooming in chatrooms or online social networks.
"It's worrying that the majority of social workers surveyed by BASW are struggling to understand how online child abuse happens.
"We know they are doing a tough job under pressure and shouldn't need to be technology experts but they do need to have a grasp of the basics".
Social workers struggle to spot the warning signs that a child is being targeted for online sex abuse and need more support to help combat the problem, new research has revealed.
A survey of social workers revealed that half of them felt concerned about dealing with online sexual abuse or behaviour, while more than two thirds of social workers felt they needed more support with child protection cases involving online abuse.
The survey, carried out by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and children's charity the NSPCC, questioned 327 social workers online in May about their experiences.