Images of child abuse: An increase in reported offenses in Wales

female playing on her phone

In the last five years, police in Wales have seen a 43 percent increase in offenses involving pictures of child abuse.

Last year, there were more than 2,000 crimes involving the possession and exchange of indecent images.

According to a Freedom of Information request made to the four Welsh police forces, victims included kids as young as primary school age.

The House of Lords' Online Safety Bill is being improved, according to the children's charity NSPCC.

In the UK, over 30,000 crimes involving the sharing and possession of pornographic images of children were documented in 2017. 2,061 of these were in Wales.

The NSPCC is urging the government to establish a statutory position for a child safety advocate, which would allow kids to speak up for themselves and be heard.

Sir Peter Wanless, its chief executive, called the numbers "alarming" and the "tip of the iceberg.".

Girl with head in hands
Indecent images on apps like Snapchat are contacting children.

All four force areas saw an increase.

South Wales Police reported the most offenses overall, going from 528 in 2016–17 to 789 five years later. According to the charity's research, Snapchat was the preferred platform for sharing these images by offenders. .

According to the most recent UK annual report from the Internet Watch Foundation, girls were found to be the most vulnerable, making up 97 percent of the child sexual abuse material shared online.


In 2021, children between the ages of 11 and 13 made up nearly seven out of ten victims of sexual abuse imagery.

According to the IWF, the effects of lockdown on online sex crime are just now becoming apparent.

Since the UK went into lockdown during the pandemic, the number of young children discovered being taught sexual acts online has increased by more than 1,000%.

Boy on phone
One percent of the IWF's most recent images of sexual abuse depict boys, and of those, 53 percent were victims of the most severe kind of abuse.

Snap's global head of platform safety, Jacqueline Beauchere, declared: "Any sexual abuse of children is repugnant and unlawful.

She said the business takes extra precautions to make it difficult for strangers to contact young users and collaborates with law enforcement, experts, and other business partners to combat it.

"We remove the content, delete the account, and notify law enforcement if we proactively discover or are made aware of any sexual content that exploits minors.

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