Social media being used as 'conveyor belt' for child sex abuse images

The charity is warning the government's plan to tackle offenders do not go far enough.

Social media is being used as a conveyor belt to produce child abuse images on an industrial scale, according to the NSPCC.

It says that within the past five years, more than 2000 child sex abuse images were recorded by the PSNI.

That figure relates to possessing, taking, making, and distributing child abuse material in Northern Ireland dating back to 2016.

The charity is urging the Executive to work with the UK Government to 'strengthen' the Online Safety Bill, to disrupt the production and spread of material.

It's set out a five-point-plan it believes would strengthen the bill:

  • Disrupt well-established grooming pathways

  • Tackle how offenders use social media to organise abuse

  • Put a duty on every social media platform to have a named manager responsible for children’s safety

  • Give the regulator more effective powers to combat abuse in private messaging

  • Give children a funded voice to fight for their interests

Natalie Whelehan, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at NSPCC Northern Ireland, said: "The staggering amount of child sexual abuse image offences is being fuelled by the ease with which offenders are able to groom children across social media to produce and share images on an industrial scale.

"At NSPCC Northern Ireland we will be calling on Northern Ireland Executive to work closely with the UK Government to strengthen the Online Harms Bill, and to prioritise fully implementing their Online Safety Strategy and Action Plan without any further delay."