New research released from the National Crime Agency, considered to be the UK’s equivalent to the US’s FBI, states that 1 in every 35 men in the country could be a potential child abuser or hold an interest in online child pornography.
Deputy director for the agency Phil Gormley said as many as 250,000 men were “true pedophiles” who posed a threat to girls under the age of 12. “The reality is that we are all living not far away from one. We are starting to get a real sense of the scale,” he said.
He went on to say the government has been made aware of the findings, and that new approaches to keeping children in the country safe before abusers are able to find them are a necessary step, reports David Raven for The Mirror.
If all we have is arrest and incarceration, that will not help them come forward. Like most people I am shocked by the estimated number who have this interest. It tells us some unhealthy things about human nature,” he said.
In a separate report released last week by the NSPCC, it was discovered that the number of children who are at risk of some form of abuse in the UK has grown by 80% since 2002.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless warned: “Up and down the country people express greater passion and indignation about the regularity of their bin collection timetables than on whether children are safe. This is a very real problem … We need to ensure that it is not just in moments of crisis that child protection shoots up the agenda.”
Across England and Wales, the number of investigations into sex abuse cases has increased by 71% since 2012. The number of cases reported is estimated to reach 113,000 this year. When the NCA was set up almost two years ago, the number of reported cases was in the single digits.
Findings from the NCA, taken from academic and other sources, suggest that as much as 3% of the male population could become, or are, pedophiles. Of those in prison, more than one in six are sex offenders.
Last November “The Pedophile Next Door” aired on channel 4 featuring a self-professed pedophile who outed himself in an effort to bring attention to the situation, hoping to gain help for people like himself before they became criminals.
One suggestion that would protect children from an attack would create a system to alert minors when men are posing as children while talking to them through Facebook and other social media sites. Software would look for a certain pattern of behavior before an individual was alerted.