Figures received by BBC Panorama show in September of this year demonstrate an alarming rise in the number of children abusing other children.
Following up on earlier research carried out by BBC Panorama in 2017 (which found that Police recorded almost 8,000 reports of abuse of children by other children in England and Wales) the most recent figures have seen those figure soar to 15,000 to 16,000, with number falling in 2020-2021 to 10,861 (which is thought to be largely attributed to the pandemic and the lack of opportunity for such abuse to be carried out with many children not being at school and movement generally restricted).
2020 may have seen the start of the pandemic but the UK has been facing an epidemic of its own – online abuse.
According to an analysis by the NSPCC, more than 10,000 offences of online child sexual abuse were logged by police between April 2019 and March 2020, a 16% increase on the previous year. Parliamentary intervention has come at a crucial time. The Online Safety Bill is the result of two years’ work seeking to provide a safer virtual environment for all. The Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has hailed the “ground-breaking laws” that the UK government have committed to introducing to ensure social media platforms protect their users and “safeguard our liberties”.