This week a strategy has been released by the Home Office which aims to tackle all forms of child sexual abuse. This builds on work already being carried out by police forces and victim support agencies across the country.

The Association of Police & Crime Commissioner’s Technology Lead, Sussex PCC Katy Bourne has welcomed this announcement saying;

“The Covid lockdowns have meant that children have been isolated at home and so are more likely to spend the majority of their time online than if they were at school. As a result, online exploitation by criminals has risen.“Young people should be protected as much as possible from those who may attempt to target and exploit them.

“This is why I fully support the Home Secretary’s introduction of the ‘Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy’ which will help to target offenders and keep young people safe online.

“Policing the ‘digital beat’ is a vast undertaking for officers and prolonged investigation of crimes, such as child sexual exploitation, can have an adverse impact upon their own mental health and wellbeing.

“The promise of new tools to speed up police investigations and protect officers’ wellbeing is welcome news. It is also reassuring to investigating officers that stronger sentencing is to be introduced. This will hopefully mean that, the serious violent and sexual offenders they work so hard to bring to justice, will remain in prison for appropriate lengths of time.

“The public also expect technology companies to act responsibly and to prevent potentially harmful content being shared on their platforms. The ground-breaking Online Safety Bill will put the onus on them to make child safety a priority.

“I hope that this strategy will help shine a brighter light on all the dark places that exist in both the physical and digital worlds where perpetrators currently hide.”