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”.
The Government has set out a new, three-point strategy to tackle sexual abuse whether it is committed in person or online, in families or communities, here in this country or overseas. The strategy aims to fulfil the Government’s goal to prevent, tackle and respond to child sexual abuse using a robust framework which seeks to encourage action amongst different sectors and agencies.
The strategy sets out the following three objectives:
- To tackle all forms of child sexual abuse and bring offenders to justice;
- To prevent offending and re-offending;
- To protect and safeguard children and young people, and provide support to all victims and survivors.
Reynard Sinaga, an Indonesian student living in Manchester, having completed a first degree, a masters and was latterly a PhD student at Leeds university working on his thesis ‘Sexuality and everyday transnationalism – South Asian gay and bisexual men in Manchester‘, was unveiled this month as the most prolific sexual predator after assaulting as many as 159 men by targeting victims and it is believed, plying them with GHB.
Jailing him the judge called him a ‘monster’ who showed no remorse after he was convicted using 1500 hours of his own video footage of his abuse and image captures from his mobile phone.