Paedophile threat has almost tripled in a year during lockdown
Paedophile threat has almost tripled in a year as child pornography use soars during lockdown
- Paedophiles who pose a threat has tripled in lockdown – up to 850,000 in the UK
- Estimated number of UK child sex offenders has risen from 300,000 in last year
- Officials estimated between 550,000 and 850,000 suspects in the UK
The number of paedophiles who pose a threat has almost tripled in lockdown – with up to 850,000 offenders in the UK.
Shock figures from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show the estimated number of UK child sex offenders has risen from 300,000 in the last year.
Officials estimated between 550,000 and 850,000 suspects in the UK – which included paedophiles who download and share images as well as those involved in direct physical abuse.
But investigators say that figure is likely an underestimate as it does not include teenagers who demand naked selfies and foreign offenders.
Shock figures from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show the estimated number of UK child sex offenders has risen from 300,000 in the last year
In its National Strategic Assessment, the NCA said the rise was due to an increase in child pornography users during the pandemic combined with more children going online as schools shut.
Offenders living with victims will also have had a greater opportunity to abuse during lockdowns.
Mark Russell, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: ‘Drastic action is needed to make the online world a safer one.’
In the last year, more children were safeguarded than ever before, with nearly 10,000 children identified by police and the National Crime Agency in the first nine months of 2020/21 and more than 7,000 suspects arrested.
The NSPCC saw a 60 per cent average monthly increase in contacts made about children experiencing online child sexual exploitation when lockdown was imposed
They included a number of people in positions of trust, including the deputy head of a primary school who was later jailed.
The report says child sexual abuse in the UK is increasing: ‘The assessment concludes that despite significant operational and policy responses, the child sexual abuse threat continues to grow, exacerbated by rising online activity.’
Investigators warn: ‘It is highly likely that some individuals who began or increased their online offending or networking during lockdown, will continue these behaviours after Covid-19 restrictions end…
‘Similarly, some children who increased their online footprint during lockdown are highly likely to remain active online, increasing the potential victim base.’
Charities have also warned of a surge in child sex offenders.
The NSPCC saw a 60 per cent average monthly increase in contacts made about children experiencing online child sexual exploitation when lockdown was imposed.
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation saw an 11 per cent increase in people contacting their helpline about child sexual abuse from 2019-2020 and a 42 per cent surge in potential offenders looking at its online help page.
The Internet Watch Foundation has also reported a 77 per cent global increase in the number of reports of naked pictures taken by children, either shared with peers or taken on the orders of an offender.
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