Sex offenders could be forced to get treatment as Javid hails prevention work

The Home Office is looking at beefing up Asbo-style civil protection orders to make sex offenders get treatment, Sajid Javid has said.

The Home Secretary told the NSPCC’s How Safe Are Our Children? conference in central London that he is “keen” to see if powers regarding civil protection orders can be boosted.

He said: “I plan to see what more we can do to strengthen sexual risk and sexual harm prevention orders.

“Having seen the success of our prevention work, I want to explore extending these orders to allow police to compel offenders to seek treatment.

“If it saves even one future victim from a long-life impact of abuse – who can argue with that?”

Stopping someone from going abroad and forcing a person to live at a specific address are among the restrictions which can be imposed under the current orders.

The orders are not custodial sentences.

It is part of fresh plans to crack down on child sexual exploitation and comes after figures showed 140,000 accounts registered on the worst child abuse sites on the dark web are from the UK, the Home Office said.

Mr Javid said: “We will publish a national strategy covering our comprehensive response to all forms of child sexual abuse.”

He added: “I have been resolute in my mission to protect our kids, but I remain determined to do even more.”

The plan is expected to look at how online and offline abuse overlap and urge the Government and police to work together, the Home Office said.

Meanwhile, cyber-related sex crimes against children have doubled in the space of just four years, according to figures obtained by the children’s charity.

Mr Javid told the conference the Government is awarding £600,000 to three organisations which support victims and survivors.

It includes £163,000 to an NSPCC project to help children with learning disabilities who have been affected by child sexual abuse.

National Crime Agency (NCA) director Rob Jones described the volume of online child sex abuse and exploitation (CSAE) and the use of the web to groom and live-stream child abuse as a “crisis for modern society”.

He welcomed Mr Javid’s comments including the new cross-government strategy to tackle the threat, which comes as the NCA is seeing an increase in the “scale, severity, and complexity” of offences.

He said: “In 2004 there were 110,000 global reports of online CSAE material; last year there were more than 18.4 million.

“The problem is treated as a crisis by law enforcement, but the tech industry needs to match that response.

“Industry does some great work but it has lots more to do because they’re currently working too reactively.

“The technology already exists to design-out a lot of preventable offending.”

He urged the industry to block abuse images upon detection and prevent online grooming.

It must work with the NCA to stop live-streaming of child abuse and be more open and share best practice, he suggested.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Rick Findler / PA Wire.