Record number of children safeguarded by CEOP

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Record number of children safeguarded by CEOP

A record number of children have been safeguarded from sexual abusers in the past year, figures from the UK’s leading child protection agency reveal today.   In 2012/2013, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre safeguarded and protected 790 children – an increase of 85 per cent on the previous year, and the highest yearly figure since the Centre launched in 2006. It now brings the total number of protected children to 2,255 in its seven-year history.   Figures in its Annual Review and Centre Plan also reveal that CEOP dealt with 18,887 reports of abuse from the public and industry – a 14 per cent increase on the previous year with an average of 1,600 reports per month.

However, the Centre has warned that new trends in child sexual offending, and the growing availability of high-speed internet around the globe is likely to increase the threat to children.   As part of its Centre Plan, CEOP has set out four key threat areas where it will focus its activity in the forthcoming year as the organisation moves into the National Crime Agency (NCA) in October 2013.

They are:

■ proliferation of indecent images of children – particularly the production of still, moving and live streaming of child abuse images;

■ online child sexual exploitation – with a focus on the systematic sexual exploitation of multiple child victims on the internet;

■ transnational child sexual abuse – including both transient and resident UK nationals and British citizens committing sexual offences abroad; and

■ contact child sexual abuse – particularly the threat posed by organised crime-associated child sexual exploitation and the risks around missing children.

These key threats are expected to be outlined in further detail in CEOP’s Threat Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (TACSEA) to be published in the coming weeks.   CEOP Chief Executive Peter Davies said:

This past year has not only seen increases in the number of reports to the Centre from the public and industry, but also a large increase in the number of children CEOP has been able to protect and safeguard from some of the worst offenders who seek to exploit our children.   “We have also provided thousands of intelligence packages to police forces and children’s services, and have reached millions of children with our educational programme teaching them how to be safe.   “Despite our successes, we aren’t complacent. We recognise that the world is constantly changing and offenders will continue to seek new ways to abuse children, which is why our work with partners around the globe is constantly evolving to ensure we’re always one step ahead of abusers.

“The Centre continues to prove its place on a global platform as one of the leading child sexual abuse law enforcement agencies, and through our commitment to prevent abuse, protect children and pursue offenders, the UK’s children are safer because of its vital work.   “Moving into the National Crime Agency as one of the four commands, the Centre will play a pivotal role in sharing our expertise in protecting children. The Agency will also be able to use specialist resources and knowledge to ensure that children are even safer in the future – not just here in the UK, but also abroad working with our international partners.”   The CEOP Centre continues its work with partners and law enforcement agencies to safeguard children and bring offenders to justice. During the past year it presented 2,866 intelligence packages on suspected child sexual offenders to police forces at home and abroad, and 601 packages to UK children’s services.

As well as identifying victims and offenders, a major part of CEOP’s work is educating young people about safety through its Thinkuknow programme which provides teachers, parents and carers with a wide range of resources to offer advice and support. Through its network of volunteers, ambassadors and trainers, the Centre has delivered safety messages to 2.6million children during the past year. It has also trained 400 new ambassadors to help deliver internet safety training, bringing the total number of ambassadors to 4,373 across the UK.



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