09:37 GMT22 October 2020
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    Cyber-related child sex crimes recorded by West Mercia police in Shropshire, England have almost doubled in the space of a year, according to UK's leading children's charity, the NSPCC.

    The National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) found that the number of offenses jumped from 114 in the 2015-16 period to 213 in 2016-17.

    In response, the NSPCC has called upon whichever government wins the June 8 UK election to ensure that online safety precautions for children are a chief priority.

    The majority of victims in West Mercia were between the ages of 13 and 15, however 10 of the victims were reported as being 10 years old, and even younger.

    In 2016, in England and Wales, 5,653 child sex crime offenses against children as young as three were online, or were related to the internet in some way.

    39 police divisions across the UK reported cyber-related sex crimes against people under the age of 18, and this included rape. Unfortunately, this number has spiked to 44% from 2015-16, when 39 forces across England and Wales cooperated with a freedom of information request put forward by the NSPCC. 

    This revealed a recorded 3,903 cyber-related sexual offenses. 

    Recent figures show that on average, 15 internet-related sex crimes against children are carried out per day across England and Wales.

    It appears that the average of the victim is around 13.

    There were nearly 100 offenses recorded nationwide that were carried out against children 10 years old and younger, with the youngest recorded victim just 3 years old.

    "These figures confirm our fears that offenders are exploiting the internet to target children for their own dark deeds. Children also tell Childline service that they are being targeted online by some adults who pose as children and try to meet them, or persuade them to perform sexual acts on webcams, before blackmailing them," said Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC.

    The NSPCC has propounded the proposal that an independent regulator should be tasked with monitoring social media companies and suing those who fail to protect children.

    The charity has also asked the government to create a minimum standards framework that companies are obligated to comply with for the protection of children. 

    "I am not surprised that the NSPCC has identified an increase in the recording of offenses against children over the last 12 months, as in the West Mercia police area we have created a dedicated team of officers to combat child abuse and exploitation by targeting those who offend online," said Detective Superintendent Adrian McGee from West Mercia Police.

    As for the government's response, we will have to wait and see until after the result of the June 8 election. 


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    pedophile, child sexual abuse, cybercrime, rape, child abuse, pedophilia, internet, police, online, UK General Election 2017, UK general election, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Wales, United Kingdom, England
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