STARTLING new figures from a leading child abuse charity show there are six online abuse offences a day in Cumbria and the North East.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) estimates more than 25,300 child abuse image and sexual grooming offences have taken place across England and Wales since the Online Harms White Paper was published in April last year.

It comes as the Online Harms Reduction Regulator Bill was introduced into the House of Lords yesterday, a Private Member’s Bill that requires Ofcom to prepare for regulation by effectively appointing it as an interim online harms regulator.

Based on the latest police recorded crime data from the first three months of 2019/2020, it is estimated an average of one online abuse offence against a child was recorded every 16 minutes in England and Wales in just over nine months.

The charity estimates that in the north east and Cumbria there were 1,800 such offences since the Bill was published, averaging six online abuses a day.

The legislation will include the establishment of an online regulator that would enforce a duty of care, meaning social networks will be legally required to ensure their platforms are safe for children to use and companies could face fines or prosecution for breaches.

Detective chief inspector Dan St Quintin said: “The constabulary will continue to proactively target child sex offenders and bring these people to justice.

“I want people to have the confidence to come forward and speak about abuse. It takes a huge amount of courage but all reports of abuse will be dealt with sensitively.

“I would urge anyone who is worried about a child who may be suffering abuse to get in touch – whether that is via an anonymous helpline, through the NSPCC, the police, or a trusted adult.

“Cumbria’s Sexual Abuse Referral Centre, The Bridgeway, also offers victims another avenue of support if they need it and can be accessed 24/7. Anyone with concerns can contact police on 101, or for more information on child sexual exploitation, visit”

The NSPCC supports this bill, saying it speeds up the timescales for the Government to uphold its manifesto promise of protecting children from abuse online.

Andy Burrows, NSPCC head of child safety online policy, said: “By our estimates, an average of 90 potential online abuse crimes against children come to light a day, so it is crystal clear regulation cannot come soon enough.

“The Prime Minister must confirm plans to press ahead with a comprehensive Duty of Care, and urgently introduce an Online Harms Bill that will deliver a well-resourced regulator with the powers to take on big tech.

“Anything less will let tech giants off the hook and have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of children, their families and law enforcement who are left to fight increasingly complex online child abuse day in and day out.”