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Two convicted of child porn crimes every day, NSPCC claims

Published 22/07/2015

Concerns have been raised at the level of child porn convictions
Concerns have been raised at the level of child porn convictions

Two sex offenders are being convicted of child porn crimes every day, two years after a Government pledge to crack down on online abuse images, a charity says.

The NSPCC said its analysis of news reports showed there had been at least 1,000 court cases involving indecent images of children since Prime Minister David Cameron's July 2013 speech in which he threatened to impose tough new laws on internet giants if they fail to blacklist key search terms.

The charity said a "snapshot" of 100 cases revealed that 4.5 million child abuse images were discovered between them, with one in three of the 101 convicted criminals in them having held a position of trust or a role that allowed them access to children.

Claire Lilley, head of child safety online for the NSPCC, said: "The scale of the problem is shocking and even more so because of the number of people who hold positions of trust in our communities. This is just a fragment of the hundreds of other similar convictions during the same time.

"It is a myth that there is no harm in just looking at these images. Defenceless babies and children are being molested to feed the appetite of offenders, and that demand is just not going away.

"The Prime Minister made a bold attempt to tackle this problem, but it is clear that, two years after he called for a crackdown, the scale of the problem is proving to be massive. We need urgent action to prevent this horrendous abuse from appearing online."

The NSPCC said those convicted of abuse image crimes in the last two years included doctors, teachers, scout leaders, clergymen, police officers, a magician and a Santa Claus. Only two were women.

Six out of 10 were jailed. Those convicted included a father and son, and a teenager who confessed to viewing such pictures from the age of 12, the NSPCC said. More than a quarter were also convicted of other sexual crimes, including grooming, voyeurism, and indecent assault and one in six already had criminal records for similar offences.

In July 2013, the Prime Minister set out a raft of reforms to protect children from "poisonous" websites that are "corroding childhood", including introducing family-friendly filters that automatically block pornography unless customers choose to opt-out.

In a speech at the NSPCC headquarters in London, he acknowledged the issue of extreme and child pornography is "hard for our society to confront" and "difficult for politicians to talk about".

Karen Bradley, minister for preventing abuse and exploitation, said (today) the Government was " leading the fight against online child sexual exploitation".

"At last year's WeProtect summit, the Prime Minister announced a series of new measures to improve the global response to online child sexual exploitation, including funding of £10 million for further specialist teams within the National Crime Agency (NCA).

"Measures also include new collaboration between the NCA and GCHQ using the latest techniques to target online offenders, making it illegal to communicate sexually with a child, and technological developments to ensure victims of online abuse can be identified more quickly and offenders are subject to speedier justice.

"The Government has also prioritised child sexual abuse as a national threat and is due to make live-streaming of abuse images punishable in the same way as recorded images, in order to ensure perpetrators face the toughest possible sentences."

The NSPCC came to its conviction rate figure by dividing the total number of convictions by the number of days the courts had sat in the past two years.

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