More training needed to tackle online child sexual abuse

08 November 2016

Frightening figures of the number of people coming into contact with online child sex abuse shows the need for more cybercrime officer training.

A report by the Middlesex University London, Enhancing Police and Industry Practice: EU Child Online Safety Project, found that nearly two thirds (60%) of officers said they’d investigated some form of online child sexual abuse, but the majority of these had not received any training.

Karen Stephens, lead on public protection units for the PFEW, said the estimated figures of the number of people coming into contact with online child sexual abuse are frightening.

“Whilst more is being done to tackle the issue, this is the work of a relative few and the report clearly highlights the need for improved training beyond specialist teams, something we fully support.”

Change is inevitable in all parts of life and society, and crime is no exception, she said.

“Government and those at the helm must change and adapt to manage this by providing officers with the right tools and importantly, the right training, beyond simply your traditional online tutorial.”

Karen Stephens said that protecting victims, particularly children, from online sexual abuse is one way the police have a positive and tangible effect on how safe the public is. Officers just want to be able to do that in the most effective way.

“At a time where our members are firefighting to simply manage day-to-day demand, leaders must consider times ahead, how crime will continue to evolve, and how we put ourselves in a place to tackle it head-on in order to protect the public.”