The number of crimes involving child abuse images skyrockets 66% in five years, with Snapchat being one of the most common methods for distributing illegal images.
- Crimes involving indecent images of children at record level, NSPCC says
- The number of crimes increased by 66 percent according to the children’s charity.
The number of crimes involving child abuse images reported to police has skyrocketed by two-thirds in just five years, data shows.
The children’s charity NSPCC said there were 30,925 recorded offenses for sharing or possessing indecent images of children in 2021-22, a record.
Just five years earlier, the number was 18,574, meaning the numbers were up 66 percent.
The charity, which obtained police data from across the UK under freedom of information laws, said the 2021-22 figure included nearly 10,000 cases where social media or a gaming site was used to distribute the illegal images.
Of those, Snapchat logged in 4,293 times, Facebook 1,361, Instagram 1,363 and WhatsApp 547, he said.
There were 10,000 cases where social media or a gaming site was used to distribute the illegal images, with Snapchat being the most used, according to the NSPCC.
Several cases involved children who were groomed online to share indecent images of themselves, the charity has warned.
He called on ministers to introduce tough new measures to combat the problem in the online security bill, which is currently in Parliament.
Sir Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “These new figures are incredibly alarming, but they reflect just the tip of the iceberg of what children are experiencing online.”
“We hear from young people who feel powerless and disappointed as online sexual abuse risks becoming normalized for a generation of children.”
The charity called on ministers to introduce tough new measures to combat the problem in the Online Safety Bill, which is currently in Parliament.
He called for the creation of an official ‘child safety ombudsman’ to hold tech giants to account.
“It would be inexcusable if five years from now we are still catching up with the widespread abuse that has been allowed to run rampant on social media,” added Sir Peter.
The NSPCC has also found that virtual reality headsets are being used to view images of child abuse.
Virtual reality was recorded eight times by police forces in crime reports, the first time the technology has been specifically mentioned, the charity said.