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Jacob Rees-Mogg says Government will take rise of child sexual abuse material online seriously as MP reveals plans to work with IWF on inquiry

Chris Elmore, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Media, says he will work with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) on an inquiry into the increase in reports of online child sexual abuse material.

 

kids holding hands

Jacob Rees-Mogg says the Government is taking the rise in “distressing” sexual abuse images of children online seriously, as an MP promises to work with the IWF on an inquiry into the issue.

Labour MP Chris Elmore (Ogmore) who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Media, says he will work with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) on an inquiry into the increase in reports of online child sexual abuse material.

The IWF is the UK charity responsible for finding and removing images of child sexual abuse from the internet.

The intervention comes as the IWF reveals they received more than a quarter of a million reports of suspected online images and videos of child sexual abuse in 2019.

Of this, more than 132,000 contained child sexual abuse material, a rise of 26% on 2018 and double the number identified in 2016.

Speaking in the Commons on Thursday (January 16), Mr Elmore said: “The Internet Watch Foundation released alarming new data which highlighted the rise in sexual abuse images of children that were reported to the charity last year.

“The leader may be aware that I chair the all-party group on Social Media and was pleased to be re-elected to it just this week, and I will be holding an inquiry into this separately, working with the charity.

“But can I ask you to bring forward either a Government statement or time for a debate to ensure that the Government is working with every organisation to ensure children are protected and not dealing with these terrible problems, and social media providers are tackled head on in dealing with these heinous crimes that children are facing?”

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg replied: “May I thank the honourable gentleman for the work he does in this incredibly difficult area and the people in the police force who work on it, because it must be some of the most distressing work that people have to do.

“The government has a very clear plan to ensure better enforcement in this area with continued rigour and is conscious of the responsibilities of media providers, be they online or off-line. Therefore it is something the government will seek to take seriously.

“You are right to raise it in the chamber. I cannot promise an immediate debate but there were DCMS questions previously and I would encourage him to continue raising it.”

Susie Hargreaves OBE, CEO of the IWF said: “We look forward to working with Chris Elmore on the inquiry, and providing our world-leading expertise on this issue.

“These truly are heinous crimes, and the victims are all real children. We all need to make sure we are doing more until all images of child sexual abuse are eradicated from the internet for good.”

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