from Sputnik News:
According to Dr. Bernard Gallagher of the University of Huddersfield, the UK government is doing a poor job when it comes to protecting children online from sexual abuse and exploitation.
The issue of keep children safe from online grooming an other forms of abuse took center stage on Monday, as the UK Home Minister Sajid Javid delivered a speech on the matter.
Mr. Javid spoke about abuse figures by national agencies, stressing that “sexual abuse is taking place in family homes; on our streets; in our communities; and in institutions across our country.”
Sputnik discussed the issue with Dr. Bernard Gallagher, academic and expert in child protection.
Sputnik: Is the UK government effective in its ways of tackling child abuse online?
Dr. Bernard Gallagher: Overall, the response to the online child sexual abuse is quite lamentable. It is a very poor response. As Sajid Javid said himself, there are 80,000 individuals, minimum, who pose a threat to children. Why on earth do we have a situation, where there are probably hundreds of thousands in the UK — if we knew about all of them — who present this risk to children? The government doesn’t do anywhere near enough to tackle this problem — a large part of it is due to funding.
In my research, I found the UK police were faced delays of sometimes 1-6 months before they could examine the digital equipment as part of their investigation. They may have an individual, they suspect of grooming a child or downloading images, and they have to examine this person’s equipment but they were facing delays of months. How can that situation be allowed to exist? I’m sure it is the same or worse now. In that time, children might be continuing to be abused.
The police are very dedicated to do the work — they just don’t have the resources.
Sputnik: Internet giants were mentioned in Mr. Javid’s speech as he expects them to get the horrific content” off their platforms and “do more.” Are tech giants doing enough to tackle child abuse and exploitation online?
Dr. Bernard Gallagher: Internet companies are not doing anywhere near enough. It strikes me as very interesting that they have such a low profile in this area. It reinforces the impression that they are doing very little. There might be different reasons for that — they don’t care enough and are more concerned about making money or they have misplaced priorities and think the privacy of their customers takes precedence over the protection of children. Clearly that’s wrong, the protection of children takes precedence.