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Offences Against Children: Internet

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what data his Department holds on the relationship between viewing images of child abuse online and child abuse. (291750)

This is a subject that is of concern to the UK and other countries, and earlier this year law enforcement, represented for the UK by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), Government and academic experts from the G8 nations and others came together to discuss these issues. This led to a G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Statement on “The risk to children posed by child pornography offenders”. The experts concluded that there was a relationship between viewing and contact offending, although more work was required to determine the exact nature of that relationship. Additionally there was a recognition that, based on conviction evidence a significant proportion of “image” offenders had committed some form of contact offence; and the exchange of child abuse images and communication between child sexual offenders was used by them to legitimise and normalise their beliefs and behaviours providing a social context which encourages the further exploitation of children.