Sarah Champion MP responds to Home Secretary’s speech on confronting Child Sexual Exploitation
Sarah Champion MP has welcomed the Home Secretary’s commitment to preventing and disrupting child abuse, including online. In a speech at Weston House, the base of operations for Childline, the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced a number of measures, including new powers for the police to tackle online abuse and grooming and additional funding for police and the National Crime Agency. Mr Javid outlined the scale of the problem with 15% girls and 5% boys experiencing some form of sexual abuse before the age of 16. He went on to state that keeping children safe was his priority regardless of cultural or political sensitivities.
The announcement follows findings published in the Internet Watch Foundation’s annual report that demonstrated the evolving threat of online CSE, particularly live streaming, encryption and grooming. Last year, the IWF removed more than 78,000 URLs confirmed as containing child abuse imagery. Each URL can contain thousands of images. The IWF also reported that proportion of the most serious Category A images rose from 28% to 33%. Disguised websites increased by 86%.
Responding, Sarah Champion stated:
“The Home Secretary’s commitment to prevent child abuse on and offline is most welcome, as is his pledge to provide an additional £21 million to the police for enforcement.’
‘Part of the approach to prevent abuse must be a public awareness campaign to recognise the signs, especially online. Most parents grew up pre-social media and therefore are often not aware of the challenges, risks and exploitation their children face online.’
‘It is right that the Home Secretary focused on the role of internet companies in preventing abuse on their platforms. Online abuse is escalating at an alarming rate and operates internationally. Tech companies must take responsibility, just as they are beginning to in relation to terrorism.’
‘I am, however, frustrated the Home Secretary didn’t focus more on support for victims and survivors. Lives are devastated by child abuse and early intervention would make a huge difference”
Notes to Editors:
Details of the IWF’s findings are available at: https://www.iwf.org.uk/news/statement-iwf-comments-on-home-secretary-sajid-javid%E2%80%99s-speech