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The NSPCC revealed today that the internet was used as a gateway by offenders to commit more than 3,000 sex crimes against children last year.

The offences, reported to 38 police forces in England and Wales, included sexual assaults, grooming victims before meeting them, inciting children to take part in a sex act and over 100 rapes during 2015/16.

Commenting on the release of these troubling figures, Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “Sadly this may be just the tip of the iceberg because children rarely tell someone that they are being abused – often through fear of the consequences or because they cannot put their experiences into words.

“Successful police operations show that online sexual offenders use sophisticated methods to target, trick and groom children, and may target hundreds of children at a time. The internet is increasingly integral to children’s lives and they need to be educated about the risks, as well as how to report suspicious behaviour. The effect of abuse, whether it happens offline or online, is devastating and we need to ensure that therapy to help them recover from their ordeal is available.”

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