Tuesday 02 July 2013

New trends in child sexual abuse offending reported by CEOP

New trends in child sexual abuse offending and the growing availability of the internet in the developing world are likely to exacerbate the threat to children, the latest findings from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre warn.

In its annual Threat Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (TACSEA), the use of the ‘hidden internet’ and the live streaming of abuse are identified as new ways that offender’s are sexually abusing children.

The TACSEA, which sets out where CEOP will focus its activity in the coming year, as the organisation moves into the National Crime Agency (NCA) in October 2013, outlines four key threats:

  • the proliferation of indecent images of children,
  • online sexual exploitation,
  • transnational child sexual abuse; and
  • contact child sexual abuse.

Other key findings show that approximately 190,000 UK children (1 in 58) will suffer contact sexual abuse by a non-related adult before turning 18, with approximately 10,000 new child victims of contact sexual abuse being reported in the UK each year.

A number of different offender types are also identified, including those who target teenagers and young people on their basis of their vulnerability, those who have a long standing sexual interest in children and those that embed themselves in foreign countries for the purpose of child sexual abuse.

CEOP Chief Executive Peter Davies said:

"It’s part of CEOP’s job to inform the public and our partners about how our understanding of the risk to children from sexual exploitation and abuse is developing.  Every year we refresh our assessment and build our operational plans around it.  This year, of course, our assessment will also feed into the wider efforts of the National Crime Agency, whose mission is to protect the public and cut crime.

“Events of the last year show that interest in protecting children, both online and offline, has never been greater and we hope that sharing what we know with as many other people as possible will help make children safer.

“Child protection isn’t the preserve of specialists; it’s the duty of every individual and of society in general.  Only by building a shared understanding of the risks will we be able, collectively, to work effectively to eliminate them.

“Our assessment shows that, sadly, there are still too many children at risk and too many people who would cause them serious harm.  We should all practice zero tolerance to child sexual exploitation and abuse.  While the assessment may not make comfortable reading, that isn’t its purpose; it’s an objective assessment of the issues as we see them but as a result it is also, undoubtedly, a call to action.

“Within the National Crime Agency, the CEOP Command will play a pivotal role in sharing its expertise, specialist resources and knowledge to ensure that children are even safer in the future - not just here in the UK, but also abroad”.

For more information on the work of CEOP, visit www.ceop.police.uk and to access CEOP’s Thinkuknow educational site, visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

 

Ends

 

The full TACSEA report is available here.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Key findings from each key threat include:

Proliferation of indecent images of children 

  • In 2012, CEOP received 8,000 reports of indecent images of children being shared, featuring 70,000 still images and videos - a two-fold increase on previous years
  • Live streaming of child abuse footage is emerging as a growing method of abusers sharing indecent images and videos.
  • There are growing concerns over the use of the hidden internet; UK daily users connecting to secret or encrypted networks increased by two thirds, one of the largest annual increases globally. CEOP expects 20,000 daily UK users by the end of this year (although not all of these will use the hidden internet for criminal means)
  • There has been a 70% increase in the number of female victims under 10 years old
  • 125% increase in the number of level 4 images (Sentencing Council classification)

Online child sexual exploitation

  • Offenders are now investing a smaller amount of time focusing on larger numbers of victims, sometimes in their hundreds (with victims located all around the world)
  • Figures from the past year showed that CEOP received 1,145 reports of online child sexual exploitation.
  • In 69% of cases, the adult failed to sexually abuse a child and the aim of physically meeting a child in order to commit contact sexual abuse was only present in 6.8 per cent of cases.

Transnational child sexual abuse

  • Reports show that the majority of UK offenders who sexually abuse children abroad were not Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s)
  • TCSO behaviour appears to relate less to specific countries, but more  to do with risk factors found in a number of countries
  • There has been an increase in the number of reports of embedded transnational child sexual abuse in Bangladesh
  • There are fears of an increased threat of child sexual abuse in Brazil as more visitors head there over the coming years for the World Cup and Olympic Games.

Contact child sexual abuse 

  • Figures from 25 police forces revealed 2,120 lone perpetrators and 31 forces reported 65 group or gang related offences.
  • A number of offenders have been identified as targeting teenagers and young adults on the basis of their vulnerability rather than due to a specific sexual interest in children (type 1). A second group of offenders (type 2) have a long standing sexual interest in children and may be part of what has previously been described as a 'paedophile ring.'
  • Figures from police forces show that the majority of type one offenders were categorised as Asian, and 97 per cent of type one offences involved white victims. The TACSEA highlights that the freedom white British children enjoy could make them more vulnerable to abuse. 
  • Lone offending was the most prevalent offence type

2. Child abuse images, not ‘child pornography’

Use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ actually benefits child sexual abusers:

  • it indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser
  • it conjures up images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse
  • every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not pornography.

3. Child abuse image classification

The Sentencing Advisory Guidelines classify child abuse images into five different levels:

  • Level 1:  Images depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity
  • Level 2:  Non-penetrative sexual activity between children, or solo masturbation by a child
  • Level 3:  Non-penetrative sexual activity between adults and children
  • Level 4:  Penetrative sexual activity involving a child or children, or both children and adults
  • Level 5:  Sadism or penetration of, or by, an animal

4. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre

CEOP works in both online and offline environments to protect children from sexual exploitation. Full information on all areas of work, as well as online safety messages and access to online reporting, can be found at www.ceop.police.uk

5.  National Crime Agency, CEOP Command

CEOP will retain its operational independence within the context of the NCA; have clear, delegated authority for its budget; continue to include external partners in its governance; retain its well-known brand; retain its mixed economy of staff, from a variety of disciplines and continue its innovative partnerships with the public, private and third sector and have the ability to raise and hold funds from donors. 

 

Further Information

CEOP press office - 0870 000 3434