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Sexual grooming cases in the North East and North Yorkshire has risen by more than a third, in the last year

The Government say they are committed to stamping out child grooming online Credit: PA

New figures show the number of sexual grooming cases in the North East and North Yorkshire has risen by more than a third in the last year.

The NSPCC found that more than 80% of cases since 2017 have involved social media.

The charity says, 'children are being groomed and abused on their platforms every single day' and social networks 'simply won't act unless they are forced to by law.'

Here are the recorded crimes of sexual communication with a child by force, and by year:

  • Cleveland
95
April 2017-April 2018
105
April 2018-April 2019
  • Durham
88
April 2017-April 2018
97
April 2018-April 2019
  • North Yorkshire
14
April 2017-April 2018
22
April 2018-April 2019
  • Northumbria
57
April 2017-April 2018
131
April 2018-April 2019
Methods of communication for each force (April 2017-April 2019) Credit: NSPCC

Grooming children online is a sickening crime and the Government is committed to stamping it out.

– Government spokesperson

In April, the Government launched an online harms white paper that includes a statutory duty of care on technology companies, enforced by an independent regulator.

The NSPCC wants social media firms to turn off friend suggestion algorithms for children and young people because they claim these make it easier for groomers to target youngsters.

They want young people's accounts to default to the highest privacy settings, with location off, contact details private and livestreaming limited to contacts only.

The charity has also called for punishments for companies that fail to protect children including fines, boardroom bans for directors, and a new criminal offence for platforms that commit gross breaches of the duty of care.

A spokesperson for Facebook, the company that also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, said:

There is no place for grooming or child exploitation on our platforms and we use technology to proactively find and quickly remove it.

We also investigate reports from the community with a content and security team of over 30,000 people who respond to reports 24/7.

– Facebook statement
The NSPCC says there are several things you can look out for to spot if your child is being groomed. Credit: PA