Online child abuse is to be tackled by a new government agency that has been launched today.
Sex offenders are urged to “get help or get caught” by Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
He said increased policing of the internet means it will “cease to be the anonymous place that it once was”.
Gamble called CEOP “the most significant development in child protection in recent years” and a “direct response to the explosion in online child abuse”.
The centre brings together children’s charities including the NSPCC, the police, and computer and internet specialists from Microsoft, AOL and elsewhere.
CEOP’s work will include:
• A website where online child sex abuse can be reported
• Tracking sex offenders
• Identifying victims of abuse and referring them for support
• Educating children to use the internet safely
• Training for professionals including social workers, probation staff and teachers
Growth in the distribution of child abuse images continues to rise and one operation alone seized over 750,000 images, according to the government.
Gamble also said vicitims of abuse should approach the centre and would be directed to “sources of help, advice and support”.
He emphasised the importance of multi-agency working to tackle online abuse. “One lesson is clear from past experience: modern-day policing cannot and must not work alone in tackling this horrendous crime.”
Gamble has spent over 25 years in the police and has held many senior posts, most recently focusing on online child sex abuse.
www.ceop.gov.uk CEOP website
www.thinkuknow.co.uk CEOP website for children