United Kingdom

Number of online paedophiles triples to 300,000

New figures suggest that reports of child abuse images online increased by almost half during lockdown.

The Internet Watch Foundation say they have received 44,000 reports of indecent images online between March 23 and July 9, compared to 29,000 during the same period last year.

The foundation said the increase in people being stuck at home and children spending more time on the internet had created 'the perfect storm.'  

New figures suggest that reports of child abuse images online increased by almost half during lockdown. File photo 

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is a UK-based charity which finds and removes online child sexual abuse material, acts on anonymous reports from the public to find and eradicate criminal content. 

Chief executive Susie Hargreaves told BBC Radio 5 Live: 'Prior to lockdown the police were saying there were around 100,000 perpetrators online.

'They then revised that to be 300,000 perpetrators and when you match that with children being online so much longer during the day, being stuck at home; you suddenly have got a perfect storm.'

But the IWF is also warning that thousands of images and videos of child sexual abuse could be going undetected because internet analysts' time is being taken up dealing with 'false reports'. 

Chief executive of the Internet Watch Foundation Susie Hargreaves (pictured) said the increase in people being stuck at home and children spending more time online had created 'the perfect storm'

Experts say thousands of inappropriate or false reports are wasting analysts' time and potentially stopping them eliminating genuine abuse imagery from the internet.

According to the IWF, one individual alone has made 8,300 false reports since June 2019 despite having been repeatedly informed what they are reporting is 'off remit' for the charity.

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