The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has carried out a study which has found that, “most images of live streamed child sexual abuse were of white, affluent girls in their own homes.”

Research has shown that a growing number of children are being, “coerced and blackmailed into streaming their own sexual abuse.” The profile of the children most affected is white affluent girls who are often streaming their abuse live from their own bedrooms.

During a three month period in 2017, IWF identified 2,082 images of sexual abuse. Of this number, 96% were girls, 98% were children under the age of 13 and 96% showed a child in their home environment. This led the IWF to conclude that children were being groomed to stream their sexual abuse over their own mobile phones, tablets and webcams.

Sarah Smith author of the report said:

“This new research shows a worrying new trend in the abuse of children. Permanent captures from live-streams showing children being groomed or encouraged to perform sexual acts now represent most of the new images and videos IWF see. Our recent data shows that so-called ‘self-produced’ content accounts for more than one in three of reports that are made to the IWF. This is an alarming figure.”

Researchers found that in some cases, children were being coerced into sexual activity in order to gain “likes” or comments from viewers.

Microsoft has also published a paper which found that the 40% of the images were categories of A or B abuse, which are the most serious categories.

The IWF has stated that their repot has shown the need for a greater awareness of this type of sexual abuse of children. 73% of the images were being shared with the presumed intention of “advertising paid downloads of videos of webcam child sexual abuse”.

IWF’s Chief Executive Susie Hargreaves, has made the following statement:

“This form of grooming is complicated and only possible because of the ‘anonymity’ the internet offers. An offender may be, for example, a 40-year-old man. But by abusing a legitimate internet site to create a false profile, he could appear online as a 12-year-old schoolgirl. We know that this information will be terrifying for most parents. That’s why we are trying to warn parents, carers and professionals working with children, about the potential abuse of live-streaming technology by offenders”


If you have been affected by anything in this article and would like advice about pursuing a civil claim please do not hesitate to one of our highly qualified abuse team members in confidence. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse. Please contact the abuse team on 0800 9555 094.

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