The NSPCC says the bill should set out a ‘duty of care’ on technology firms to make their sites safer for children and is urging the government to get it through parliament as a matter of urgency.
Susie Hargreaves, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said: “The length of time it is taking is leading to uncertainty for us all, which stalls progress…we support calls for the Government to speed up the timetable for the introduction of the online harms legislation”.
Lancashire Police Record Increase in Online Grooming
In the North West of England, police forces recorded 1,738 offences of sexual communication with a child between April 2017 and October 2019, including 647 in Lancashire.
Figures obtained via Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show that 10,119 offences of sexual communication with a child were recorded by police in England and Wales in the two and a half years since the law came into force.
The Lockdown is Creating the Perfect storm for Child Abuse
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s hotline director Donald Findlater said “In March, we saw between 200 and 250 visitors per week to the self-help resources. That number has grown to – and sustained – at around 600 each and every week, so a significant increase since lockdown.”
Campaigners warn that lockdown has created a ‘remarkable and unique’ opportunity for those wishing to exploit children. Increased isolation, stress and uncertainty could mean that more people may act on harmful impulses.