08 December 2009

Sexual offenders are using the internet to fast-track abuse

(Daily Telegraph)
Sexual offenders are using the internet to fast-track abuse, according to new research. Previous studies into child sexual abuse had shown that offenders spent months befriending a young person, and in some cases their family, to prepare for the abuse. But latest research, from the European Online Grooming Project, shows that the grooming process by offenders using the internet is much faster. Rather than selecting one vulnerable child to abuse, some offenders also appear to target numerous young people until they find someone willing to meet them. They are increasingly using social networking sites such as MSN and Facebook and are becoming technologically-advanced, often operating in communities sharing indecent images between countries, according to the research conducted by NatCen (National Centre for Social Research), Kingston University and Royal Holloway, University of London - which was presented at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety's (UKCCIS) first annual summit. Prof Julia Davidson, from Kingston University, said. "The research shows that the grooming period has been speeded up with chat room communication becoming almost immediately sexualised".

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