Home Secretary Sajid Javid has today (Monday 3 September) delivered a speech on online child sexual exploitation in which he said that “keeping our children safe will be my mission as Home Secretary” and warned tech companies that he would not be afraid to “take action” if they did not take more measures to remove child sexual exploitation from their platforms.
Mr Javid said he was “demanding” companies take “more measures” – or face new legislation.
The National Crime Agency estimates that around 80,000 people in the UK present some kind of sexual threat to children online. And the NCA believe that’s a conservative estimate.
Mr Javid confirmed his belief that the growth of the internet has given potential offenders who previously may have had no access to children the opportunity to meet and groom and abuse victims online on gaming sites and on social media and to get access to more abuse material than ever before and stated, “As parents and guardians, we can all play an important role in tackling online child sexual exploitation and abuse. We don’t send our kids out to play in the park or teach them to cross the road alone without giving them advice. But when it comes to their time spent on the internet or glued to their smartphones, it’s often a different story. Too often we’re afraid to ask our kids the questions that really matter for their safety. Who are they speaking to online? What forums are they using? What are they sharing online?”
In response to the Home Secretary’s speech Barnardo’s Chief Executve, Javed Khan said:
“We welcome the Home Secretary’s commitment to do everything in his power to tackle online child sexual exploitation. We know through our specialist services how abusers destroy children’s lives and much more needs to be done to protect them. The problem is urgent, and internet companies have the resources and technical expertise to tackle this appalling crime. They need to go much further and much faster than they have done to date. Barnardo’s wants to see legislation introduced urgently that protects children from online harm – any delay could put future generations of children in danger.”