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More training needed to recognise new forms of child sex abuse

26 November 2014

Growth in new technology and social networking has led to new child protection concerns.

Research by the NSPCC found an increase in child sex abuse manifesting itself in the form of ‘sexting’ and coercive behaviour online. However, it is not just abuse perpetrated by adults that is a concern. Sexually explicit images exchanged between children can easily be shared online and there are increasing examples of revenge porn by fellow children. Child protection concerns also arise if this content then falls into the hands of adults with ulterior motives.

The research shows that social workers struggle to deal with 'peer-to-peer' abuse especially when it is committed online. Often they have not undertaken specific or in depth child sex abuse training as part of their qualifying programme. Social workers need greater support to keep up with a rapidly changing environment of sexual abuse and more training is needed to recognise and respond to these issues.

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