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One child in Surrey subject to online sex crime each week

Online Grooming

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 6:01am 1st June 2017. (Updated at 6:37am 1st June 2017)

Nearly one child is subject to a sex crime online every week in Surrey.

That's according to data obtained from Surrey Police, through a Freedom of Information request by the NSPCC.

The figures show they've increased in the last year by over a third compared with the previous year (2015-16). 

It shows that 53 sex crimes were committed against children in the county in 2016/17, up from 31 in 2015/16.

The data relates to any offence that contains a cyber element, that may lead to rape, grooming or sex assault.

But the number of the same type of crimes recorded by Hampshire Police have gone down by over 60. 

In 2015/16 there 149 reported offences - in 2016/17 there were 89.

crime

Sonja Jutte from the NSPCC explains that doesn't tell the whole story: "To be honest I'm not sure I would read that much in to it at the moment. Overall we know that the measure isn't a measure of the overall prevalence of certain offences.

"It's worth bearing in mind that at a local level this is a measure of where the offences are recorded, which isn't necessarily where the offences take place."

A total of 39 forces across England and Wales reported cyber-related sex crimes against under-18s that included rape, grooming, and sexual assault.

Last year 5,653 child sex crimes with an online element were recorded in England and Wales.

This number has risen by more than a third (44%) from 2015/16 when 39 forces across England and Wales who responded to the same Freedom of Information request by the NSPCC recorded 3,903 cyber-related sexual offences.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said: “These figures confirm our fears that offenders are exploiting the internet to target children for their own dark deeds."

"We cannot idly sit by knowing that more and more innocent young people are being harmed online. Today’s worrying data leaves the next government with no choice but to urgently address this issue.

"We are calling on them to force internet companies and social media sites to adhere to rules that keep their young users safe.” 

The NSPCC are now calling on the government to make online safety a top priority. 

It also says the government should draw up minimum standards that internet companies must meet to safeguard children.

 

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