Skip to main content

0800 917 1000   Open weekdays 9am-5pm

The Internet

An inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation facilitated by the internet. (This investigation is now complete.)

No issue is more pressing for contemporary child protection than the role of the internet in facilitating child sexual abuse. Developments in technology have created new opportunities for offending against children. Some reflect patterns of offending which have existed for years: for example, the creation, possession and distribution of indecent images of children or the grooming of children for the purpose of abuse at a later time. Other opportunities to offend are new, including the use of online streaming as a means of abusing children who may be in the UK or abroad.

In this investigation, the Inquiry reviewed national policies on preventing abuse facilitated by the internet and considered the appropriateness of the response of the National Crime Agency, its CEOP Command and the police. The Inquiry investigated the policies of internet service providers, providers of online platforms, and other relevant software and communication technology companies relating to child sexual abuse, and considered the adequacy of the existing statutory and regulatory framework applicable to those organisations. The investigation has made practical recommendations that minimise the opportunities for abuse facilitated by the internet in the future.

Next Steps:

The investigation has now finished.

The public hearing for this investigation concluded in May 2019. A report was published in March 2020 and is available here. Responses to recommendations made in this report can be found here.

The Inquiry is encouraging all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experience with the Truth Project.

Back to top