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Technology: CEOP is leading the online battle against the changing habits of child abusers

Children are being groomed over the internet for online sexual abuse rather than for face-to-face meetings, new research shows.

This is no surprise as the risks of physical abusers getting caught by arranging to meet up with their young victims are now thankfully high.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has revealed that only 7% of 1,145 reported abuse cases in 2012 involved people trying to meet a child. This figure is down from 12% in 2011.

Parents may be tempted to breathe a sign of relief. It is said, however, that success leads to complacency, and complacency is the greatest enemy of success.

The harm of online abuse is significant and psychologically long-lasting.

As a crime reporter I covered many sickening cases in the days when online abusers were generally ahead of the police in terms of technology. The gap has narrowed.

Awareness among youngsters is far higher and to a greater extent than ever children themselves act as police and protectors.

The work of CEOP is excellent. Among CEOP resources for schools is this video (below). It achieves its aim of delivering a message with enough shock for children to take notice, without giving them a sleepless night.

Posted by Peter Harvey: Tuesday 05th February 2013