Skip to main content

0800 917 1000Open weekdays 8am-8pm, Saturdays 10am-12pm

The Internet and Child Sexual Abuse

An inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation facilitated by the internet.

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 will review national policies on preventing abuse facilitated by the internet and will consider the appropriateness of the response of the National Crime Agency, its CEOP Command, and the police. The Inquiry will investigate the policies of internet service providers, providers of online platforms, and other relevant software and communication technology companies relating to child sexual abuse, and consider the adequacy of the existing statutory and regulatory framework applicable to those organisations. The objective of the investigation is to make practical recommendations that minimise the opportunities for abuse facilitated by the internet in the future.

Next Steps:

One week of public hearings in relation to this investigation will take place on 22 January 2018  which will hear evidence in relation to  "the response of law enforcement agencies to child sexual abuse facilitated by the internet".

Following the hearings, there will be further invitations for core participant applications arising from other aspects of the investigation.

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

Back to top