Spike in sexual grooming incidents on social media

There has been a sharp rise in the number of recorded incidents of online sexual grooming – with a notable spike in predators using social media service Instagram.

Freedom of Information requests carried out by the NSPCC have revealed that police services in England and Wales recorded at least 4,373 offences of sexual communication with a child in the year to April 2019. This figure compared with 3,217 in the previous year.

The data showed that one in five victims were aged under 11 while the number of recorded instances involving the use of Instagram has more than doubled.

Over the last two years, the figures show that Facebook-owned apps (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp) and Snapchat were used in more than 70 per cent of the incidents where police had recorded the communication method used.

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