Our latest research has found, for offences where age and gender is recorded, girls aged 12-15 are most likely to be victims of online grooming, and more needs to be done to protect children online.
In the last three years, there has been a 60% increase in the number of sexual communication with a child offences against girls, with 10,700 communications recorded by the police in England and Wales between April 2017 and March 2021.
Girls are more likely to be targeted by groomers, with data from police forces in England and Wales showing girls were the victim in 83% of grooming cases where the gender was known between April 2017 and March 2021.
We recently highlighted how the Government’s draft Online Safety Bill needs significant changes in order to protect children from online abuse. And more can still be done to deliver a Bill that helps prevent online child abuse, while also playing an important role to deliver the Government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.
More changes are needed to help protect girls - and all children - from sexual abuse online. We’re calling on the new Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorres, to take action to make sure the Online Safety Bill helps prevent online child abuse.