Children forced to suffer worst forms of sexual abuse online | News from UK, report finds

Children as young as seven are being coerced by their abusers into filming themselves carrying out the worst forms of child sexual abuse material, a charity has warned.

Analysts from child protection charity the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) uncovered nearly 900 instances of Category A child sexual abuse material in just five days.

It urged the government to return the much-delayed online safety bill to parliament.

IWF chief executive Susie Hargreaves said the charity had shared details of the material to “make people aware of the stark reality of the situation”, and said the government must reintroduce the Online Safety Act to protect children.

The bill would require online platforms to find and remove illegal content to protect users, especially children.

The report found:

  • In some cases, the material included sexual penetration of household objects
  • Everything found was shared online by abusers who coerced children through internet-connected devices with cameras while away from them
  • Children aged 11 to 13 accounted for 75% of the recorded images, children aged 7 to 10 accounted for 20%, and children aged 14 to 15 accounted for 5%

The IWF identifies and removes online images and videos of child abuse and provides a place for the public to anonymously report abuse.

Regarding the IWF’s latest findings, Ms Hargreaves said: “This shocking data helps dispel any illusions that these images are simply children naturally exploring their sexuality.

“The commonality of the objects used for the viewer’s sexual pleasure, combined with the evidence of childhood everyday life in these images, brings home the harsh reality of the situation.”

“Predators get unprecedented opportunity”

She said it was “vitally important” that the bill returned to parliament, with further delays “threatening” the bill’s future and chances of protecting children online.

“Predators are getting closer than ever to our children in places where we think they should be safe and protected,” she added.

The IWF identifies and removes online images and videos of child abuse and provides a place for the public to anonymously report abuse.

Abuse is “inherently preventable”

Sir Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said that while the findings were disturbing, “we cannot escape the fact that this is the reality of online child sexual abuse and is happening every day across the country. happened in the family”.

He added that the abuse was “essentially preventable” and “should be a wake-up call for the prime minister.”

read more:
Tech firms will be forced to fight ‘online child abuse tsunami’
‘Disparagement’ and pornographic deepfakes should be outlawed

A Home Office spokesman said: “Child sexual abuse is a horrific crime against the most vulnerable in our society. We are working tirelessly to hunt down the offenders and keep children safe online and in our communities.

“The Online Safety Bill is a key measure in this regard as it will ensure companies take proactive action to protect children from child sexual abuse and exploitation on their platforms.”

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