Social Networking Sites Being Used For 'Grooming', Report Suggests

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21st November 2012 17:44 - Telecommunications

Gangs of child abusers have been found to be using social networking sites such as Facebook to groom unsuspecting young victims for abuse, a report has found. 

The internet, although a wonderful technological advancement, has also become a place where predators frequently operate maliciously, with their targets (more often than not) vulnerable young children. 

The interim report was carried out by the Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz, who said that cases of abuse where technology such as mobile phones or the internet were not used are 'extremely rare'. 

The report found that 2,409 children and young people were confirmed victims between August 2010 and October 2011, with many more unreported cases feared. In addition, 16,500 children were at 'high risk' of exploitation between April 2010 and March 2011. 

In one particular case, an astounding 2,900 vulnerable children were connected to one main perpetrator, who had been using various social networking sites to maintain contact with potential victims. 

Other findings from the report included groups of men, aged between 14 and 70, were tracking victims via social networking sites, and also used them to arrange 'parties' and other illicit meetings, where abuse would be carried out. 

Miss Berelowitz said: "We've found people who are perpetrating these terrible crimes against children go up to men in their 70s, so sometimes they are organised, and yes there are different models. It is desperately important that people wake up to all the evidence." 

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