Cyber sex crimes against children up to almost one every hour according to charity
The NSPCC reveal that children are increasingly being targeted on the web by sex offenders – with an average of 22 crimes a day taking place online last year.
Last year, a record 8,224 child sexual offences logged by police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland had an online element, according to figures obtained by the NSPCC.
In the North East alone, 2,674 cyber-related sex crimes against children were recorded between 2015 and 2019.
The charity now calls on the next Prime Minister to prioritise online safety and bring in new laws that deliver a change in protection against abuse.
It comes just days before the Government closes its consultation on its Online Harms White Paper, which proposes to introduce an independent regulator to enforce a legal duty of care on tech companies to keep users safe on their platforms.
Chief Superintendent Scott Hall, head of Northumbria Police's Safeguarding Department, said that cyber-crime has been an emergin trend of a number of years and the force is working to educate the public about the threats.
He said: “Parents, guardians, teachers and carers now have a better understanding of the dangers of cyber-crime and the ways predatory individuals may use the internet to target children.
“This has allowed them to be able to recognise suspicious activity and report it to police but it has also helped them to engage in important conversations with children about their online activity.
“We will continue to work on educating adults and children about online safety and these figures do show that people are more confident than ever before in reporting incidents to police.
“Specially-trained cyber detectives in our Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) will also continue to proactively root out individuals who target children online and bring them before the courts.”
Det Ch Supt Hall added: “Parents and carers should continue to take steps to understand what websites or chat rooms children are accessing, who they are talking to and take advantage of parental internet content safety tools.
“We will continue to do everything we can to give further confidence to young people to report incidents and prevent them from becoming victims in the first place.”