2019 marks the seventh year that the NSPCC How safe are our children? report has been produced and published. For the past six years, The NSPCC have compiled and analysed data from across all four nations in the UK to provide an overview of child protection data. However, from 2019 onwards, the Office for National Statistics will publish a compendium of child abuse data sources in England and Wales, and therefore this year the NSPCC refocused their 2019 report on the most up-to-date statistics relating to issues of online safety and online abuse in the UK.
Key findings from 2019
Year on year increases in the numbers and rates of police-recorded online child sexual offences in England and Wales and Northern Ireland
Increases in police-recorded offences of obscene publications or indecent photos in all four UK nations over the last five years
Increases in the number of URLs confirmed by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) as containing child sexual abuse imagery since 2015
Less than half of children aged 12 to 15 say they know how to change their settings to control who can view their social media
The majority of parents, carers and members of the public agree that social networks should have a legal responsibility to keep children safe on their platforms.
Key policy calls from 2019
Following the publication of the government’s online harms white paper, we are calling on the government to ensure that it delivers a statutory regulator that:
Has the necessary powers and resources to do its job
Subjects platforms to a legally enforceable duty of care
Makes platforms report on how they keep children safe
Carries consequences for platforms that breach safeguarding rules
Makes platforms take proactive steps to prevent exposure to illegal behaviour.