How the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children battles child abuse and exploitation

Both the coronavirus pandemic and privacy rulings could be contributing to child sexual abuse online


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It is believed that many cases of child abuse, including physical and sexual abuse and neglect, could be the dark figure of crime during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many mandated reporters being denied the usual access and observation they have during “normal times.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic and associated national shutdowns began in early 2020, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has seen a drastic spike in the number of cases and reports of child sexual abuse materials online and online grooming of children. From March through December, NCMEC received 21 million CyberTipline reports, which is up from 18 million for the whole of 2019. “We see a correlation between the pandemic and people being homebound and connected on mobile devices,” says NCMEC President and CEO John F. Clark.

In this episode of the Policing Matters podcast, host Jim Dudley speaks with John Clark about the work of NCMEC, which serves as the nation's clearinghouse and comprehensive reporting center for all issues related to the prevention of and recovery from child victimization.

Is a child being sexually exploited online? Report it here or call 1-800-THE-LOST.

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