Campaign to stamp out child abuse images
A CHARITY campaigning against cruelty to children is calling for urgent action to stop paedophiles from swapping images of child abuse.
Avon and Somerset Police made 88 arrests last year for taking, possessing or distributing indecent images of children, a request under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed.
The NSPCC, which made the application, said already this year there had been several court cases this year involving large amounts of indecent images of children, including a man from Kingswood found with more than 40,000 images.
NSPCC South West head of service Sharon Copsey said: "The number of these dreadful images is absolutely appalling.
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"The truly awful thing is that more and more children are being abused so these pictures can be produced and once in circulation they may stay there for many years. If we can halt this vile trade we will be saving countless children from suffering sexual assaults which have a huge impact on their lives.
"The authorities are working hard to clamp down on this but there are still far too many pictures available. It's time the government and industry got together to find an answer to this corrosive problem which cannot be allowed to continue."
John Carr, secretary of the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, said: "It's reasonable to assume that as there is a seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of images more children are being abused to satisfy demand. Research has shown that the victims are getting younger and are being assaulted in ever more grotesque and violent ways."
The number of images seized during police investigations over the past year is so large that Avon and Somerset Police told the charity it would take too long to calculate.
The pictures are graded according to the seriousness of the abuse shown and many involve children under ten, and even babies.