NSPCC Cymru has called for more action to tackle online child sex abuse images as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) publishes new figures showing a significant rise in the problem.
The IWF has today revealed what it calls a ‘staggering’ 417 per cent increase in illegal imagery over the last two years. In 2013, 13,182 reports were found to contain child sexual abuse imagery.
Following UK government approval for the IWF to begin proactively searching for material, 68,092 reports were confirmed as illegal images or video in 2015.
Online safety is a focal point of NSPCC Cymru’s 2016 Assembly election manifesto, in which the charity calls for the next Welsh government to introduce a comprehensive Online Safety Action Plan including an entirely independent Digital Advisory Group, contributing to the plan and liaising with ministers.
The NSPCC wants collaboration with social media providers – opening a dialogue around improvements to the safety of Welsh children online as well as online safety lessons for children – incorporating resilience as a key element of personal and social education (PSE).
The charity has also said they would like to have a guarantee that online safety will become a key part of the National Safeguarding Board for Wales.
Head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, Des Mannion, told The Herald: “The IWF’s shocking figures show online abuse remains a rapidly growing problem that we all have to face up to – and deal with – swiftly. Each child shown in these images is a victim of appalling abuse.
“In Wales – we can lead the way. Following the upcoming election, there’s a clear opportunity for the government to prioritise and innovate.
“From better education to close collaboration with social media providers, there’s more that can be done to protect Welsh children online.
“The IWF’s work in exposing this abuse is wholeheartedly welcome and the NSPCC will continue to highlight the internet’s significant dangers to parents and children.”