Friday 05 November 2010

Key children’s sites adopt ClickCEOP button as UK’s Centre for child protection receives over 6,000 reports in a year

·       A quarter (1,536) of all reports relate to online grooming

·       434 reports involve inciting a child to perform a sexual act

·       135 reports involve making arrangements to meet a child offline

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre has received 6,291 reports in the last reporting year, an increase of 880 on the previous year. 

A quarter (1,536) of reports received by CEOP’s specialist child protection teams related to grooming and a further quarter (1553) related to the possession and distribution of images. Eight per cent (513) involved contact sexual abuse by a suspect.

Figures published today in CEOP’s 2009-2010 Strategic Overview show that 135 reports involve a suspect making arrangements to meet a child in the real world and 434 relate to a child being incited to perform a sexual act.

While around 40% of reports come from the public, the overall increase in reports is due to a rise in industry reporting – from online moderators, website hosts and mobile phone companies, among others.

Public reports are made overwhelmingly through the ClickCEOP button. This is used by children, young people, parents and carers to access information about online safety and to report instances of sexual abuse, grooming and other problems online. By clicking on the link, children can also access a range of advice and guidance from organisations such as the NSPCC’s Childline, Beatbullying and GetSafeOnline. 

The organisation also announced that a number of prominent children’s sites have committed to working with CEOP and signalled their intention to adopt the ClickCEOP button, including Netlog, Moshi Monsters, Wee World, AOL AIM, IMJack and Habbo.

During the reporting period, CEOP’s advice pages were viewed more than 128,500 times, with 2,391 reports received from the public by CEOP’s specialist child protection officers.

The document highlights an increasing trend of explicit ‘self-taken’ images by children and young people, indicating that many are prepared to take risks in making online contact with strangers.  As such, CEOP have launched a two week advertising campaign in Facebook, supported by the social networking site, in order to raise awareness of the dangers of uploading indecent or uninhibited images online.

Other trends noted in the Strategic Overview include a rise in the number of investigations referred to CEOP relating to women who sexually abuse children and an indication that Vietnamese children now make up the largest group of children being trafficked into the UK, primarily for exploitation in the cultivation of cannabis.

Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and ACPO lead for Child Protection, said:

“The scale and nature of reports received by CEOP’s child protection specialists demonstrate an ongoing need to educate and inform young people about the risk of posting inappropriate images of themselves online. Unfortunately we have seen cases where these photos and videos have ended up in the wrong hands of those collecting child abuse images.

“One report sometimes enables us to identify hundreds of victims. The fact that a quarter of our reports relate to grooming – and in particular the 135 reports of children who were contacted by offenders attempting to meet them offline – highlight the importance of CEOP’s online safety programme, which has now reached more than 6 million children.

“The risk to children and young people outlined in this document can only be met with an holistic approach to the problem, combining child protection expertise, education, law enforcement and industry, which CEOP continues to provide.”

Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire said:

“I welcome the CEOP Strategic Overview, which highlights the issues relating to the safety of children online.  Child protection will always be an absolutely priority for Government and CEOP continues to play a crucial role in ensuring children are safeguarded.

 “It’s encouraging to see how many reports now come from industry and that the majority of reports from the public are made through the ClickCEOP button.

“This report highlights the important work CEOP does and we will continue to build on this." 

View the report in full