More abuse victims being groomed online, says Barnardo’s

The majority of child sex abuse victims in some parts of Britain are now groomed through social networking websites or by mobile phone, according to a leading charity.Barnardo’s said the use of technology such as the internet and instant messaging in targeting children has “markedly increased” over the past year. see:Little is happening to protect child sex victims [news release]
Little is happening to protect victims of child sexual exploitation in many communities around the country and in some areas budget cuts are leading to the issue being downgraded.Today marks the 1st year anniversary of Barnardo’s campaign to stop child sexual exploitation ‘Cut them free’ and there is still more to be done.Only a quarter of local safeguarding children boards in England are implementing government guidance on sexual exploitation appropriately (report released by University of Bedfordshire ‘What’s going on to safeguard children and young people from sexual exploitation’.).

Our new reportOur new report ‘Cutting them free’ surveyed our 21 specialist services and reveals that locally, awareness raising of sexual exploitation has reduced by 30% due to funding cuts and that acknowledgement and recognition of the issue still remains patchy.Two Barnardo’s services even reported a downgrading of sexual exploitation as a priority in their area.Yet this crime is becoming ever more complex and pernicious and without local action children will continue to be groomed, raped and abused in towns and cities across the UK.
Barnardo’s service data also shows:

  • The number of sexually exploited children Barnardo’s works with has grown by 8.4% to 1,190
  • The majority of grooming is in private with cases of ‘street grooming’ being rare
  • 1 in 10 of those exploited were boys
  • nearly half (44%) of the children have gone missing from home
  • 1 in 6 young people have been trafficked and moved from town to town and city to city, rising to 1 in 2 in some areas
  • 1 in 3 services has seen a marked increase in peer-to-peer exploitation.

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