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Child grooming cases recorded by police soar in the last 12 months

Figures from the NSPCC show the number of child grooming cases recorded by police have risen by a third in 12 months in England and Wales.

Grooming crimes recorded by police in Hampshire have soared by 19% in the last year.

There were 181 offences of sexual communication with a child recorded in the year to April 2019 compared with 152 in the previous year, in Hampshire.

Thames Valley police recorded 274 offences of sexual communication with a child recorded in the year to April 2019 compared with 114 in the previous year

In Dorset There were 84 offences of sexual communication with a child recorded in the year to April 2019 compared with 37 in the previous year. 

The data obtained from 43 police forces in England and Wales under Freedom of Information laws also revealed that, where age was provided, one in five victims were aged just 11 or younger.

In 2018/19 in England and Wales the number of recorded instances of the use of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, was more than double that of the previous year.

Overall in the last two years in Dorset, Facebook-owned apps (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp) and Snapchat were used in 70% of the instances where police recorded and provided the communication method. Instagram was used in almost half of them.

The Government has indicated it will publish a draft Online Harms Bill early next year, following the NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign.  The proposals would introduce independent regulation of social networks, with tough sanctions if they fail to keep children safe on their platforms. 

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