The impact of COVID-19 on the risk of online child sexual exploitation and the implications for child protection and policing

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COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of children’s lives – including their experiences on the internet. This new study from the University of New South Wales analyses how the pandemic increased cases of online sexual exploitation and abuse, and how across the world, the professionals who work tirelessly to protect children from such violence were met with unprecedented challenges. By interviewing practitioners, frontline hotline workers, and law enforcement officers, this study provides a unique look into the realities children – and responders – faced during COVID-19. The study also offers a set of recommendations to protecting children from online sexual exploitation and abuse in future public health crises.

This study was funded by the Australian eSafety Commissioner.

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