Europol reports doubling of online child sexual abuse material from Ireland in April

The number of referrals to Europol of online child sexual abuse material from Ireland more than doubled between March and April.
Europol reports doubling of online child sexual abuse material from Ireland in April
Europol said the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a surge in the distribution of child sexual abuse material online. File photo.

The number of referrals to Europol of online child sexual abuse material from Ireland more than doubled between March and April.

It went from just under 1,500 referrals in March to almost 3,000 the following month, according to the EU law enforcement agency.

Europol said the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a surge in the distribution of child sexual abuse material online.

Authorities have warned offenders are increasing their activities on social media and the dark web, as they and the children they abuse are confined to their homes.

CyberSafeIreland CEO, Alex Cooney, said young people are more at risk of being groomed online during the pandemic.

Ms Cooney said: "There is evidence to show that during this period online predators are more active, they have been more active.

"They are very conscious that children are also online a lot more and perhaps not being supervised, so I think we have to be aware of that risk and counter it where possible."

For Europol advice on how to protect children from online threats, click here.

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