Sexual abuse on webcam and live streaming
At CEOP we have seen an increase in cases of sexual abuse which takes place solely online. In these cases the children involved never meet the offender face to face and all of the abuse takes place over the internet - via images, webcam or live streaming.
How does this happen?
Though the ways they do it vary, the basic tactic used by offenders is to trick or persuade a young person to share a sexual image, strip or perform sexual acts on webcam or live streaming platforms.
They might do this by grooming the child, building a relationship with them in which the child feels love or a sense of obligation to the offender. They might pretend to be the same age as the child, flirting with them and asking them to engage in sexual acts. In some cases they will use information which the young person has shared, for example personal problems or family difficulties, as leverage to get the young person to go on webcam or share a sexual image.
Once they have an image or video they will then use it to blackmail them, telling the child that if they don’t do what they say they will share the image or video online.
Children then feel trapped, forced to do whatever the offender wants or face the embarrassment of family or friends seeing them naked or engaging in sexual acts.
This can start a cycle of abuse with offenders making increasing demands for the children to appear on video and perform sexual acts. In some cases they have been forced to physically hurt themselves or involve other children.
The children in these cases often feel that there is no way out and that they can’t tell anyone. Let your children know that whatever has happened there is always help out there. It’s never their fault, the offender has committed a serious sexual crime and the images are evidence of their crime.