Latest Public Sector News

21.06.16

Council leaders warn that online child abuse is a ‘growing concern’

Councils have warned about the growing dangers of online child abuse after new figures showed that the internet was used as a gateway in more than 3,000 sex crimes against children last year.

The new figures, revealed by the NSPCC at its conference, ‘How safe are our children?’, were recorded following the introduction of ‘cyber-flagging’, where police are required to record the use of the internet in sexual abuse.

An average of eight abuses were recorded a day, including over 100 rapes of children and abuse of 272 children under 10, including a baby.

Cllr Roy Perry, chair of the LGA children and young people board, said: “Online abuse has been an area of growing concern for a number of years, and councils across the country have taken steps to make sure that teachers, social workers, children and parents are aware of the risks and know how to respond appropriately.”

He thanked parents, families, members of the public and children themselves for being increasingly aware of abuse and acting as “a thousand eyes and ears” to inform services of abuse.

Cllr Perry added that the number of children dying due to homicide or assault in England is declining and has fallen by 69% since 1985.

“We can never be complacent when it comes to the safety of children and young people, and it is right that poor practice is highlighted and improvement demanded where necessary,” he said. “However, we must take care that in our rush to improve, we don't lose sight of the unreported excellence of the vast majority of social workers, whose tough decisions and swift actions are saving children's lives every day.”

He also warned that councils had had to safeguard children’s services from public sector funding cuts.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “These figures confirm our fears that the online world is playing a significant role in the sexual abuse of children in the UK.”

He said online abuse included paedophiles grooming victims, posing as children, livestreaming abuse and forcing victims to perform sexual acts over webcam.

Wanless added that all police forces must have the resources and training to tackle online abuse, highlighting that a small number of forces were not aware of the role of the need to introduce cyber-flagging.

 Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

NSPCC: Working together to improve the support available for children who have been sexually abused

08/10/2019NSPCC: Working together to improve the support available for children who have been sexually abused

Hayley Clark, the acting head of development and impact at the NSPCC, talks about the significant gap in support services for children who have been sexually abused and the Ho... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >