10th February, 2021 8:44 am
The coronavirus pandemic is “fuelling long-term changes” to the threat posed by online sexual abusers, with children now facing “significant new risks”, according to the country’s leading children’s charity.
The warning from the NSPCC comes as analysis of the latest crime trends shows a 17% rise in online sex crimes against children in the months after the first COVID-19 lockdown.
That’s an increase from 15,183 during the same period in 2019. It includes more than 14,500 Obscene Publication offences – up almost a fifth on 2019.
Most of those offences are believed to involve the trade in child sexual abuse images.
Nearly 3,200 sexual grooming crimes were recorded in the six months from April last year – an increase of 6% on the previous year.
The NSPCC believes the statistics show the heightened risk children have faced from child abusers online during the pandemic, and claim the coronavirus has resulted in significant online harms to children.
In particular, the charity has singled out live-streaming and video chat as being particularly high risk, as it is becoming more popular among young people.
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