Today, the IICSA published its final statutory report and recommendations to conclude the seven-year Inquiry.
Rob Jones, NCA Director General for the NECC and Threat Leadership, said:
"The publication of this final report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is extremely significant for a number of reasons.
"Firstly, it marks an important day for all the victims and survivors of abuse who have given their time over the years to bravely share their personal experiences. Their insights and contributions have been absolutely key to this Inquiry and any progress that has been made is a testament to them.
"The Inquiry has shone a light on issues and offending which may not otherwise have come to the fore. The NCA and wider law enforcement response to the threat has evolved and improved considerably alongside this, and we are making a huge impact.
"Each month, coordinated action by the NCA and UK policing leads to over 800 arrests and nearly 1,200 children being safeguarded.
"This represents action taken against the highest harm offenders, as well as a number of investigations which have unearthed non-recent abuse.
"Our understanding of the threat has also improved. The statistics highlight how it continues to grow in scale. The NCA estimates that there are likely to be 550,000 to 850,000 people in the UK who pose varying degrees of sexual risk to children. We are also seeing an increase in the severity of offending and added complexities in tackling it.
"Technology and the internet continues to be used by those who have a sexual interest in children to perpetrate child sexual abuse. In 2019, I gave extensive evidence to the Inquiry’s internet investigation, highlighting the need for industry to do more to prevent abuse taking place on its platforms.
"The Inquiry subsequently made four recommendations for Government to introduce measures placing a duty of care on the tech industry, which have since been implemented.
"We continue to work with all of the major companies to seek solutions but years on, we are yet to see the big shift that we need to degrade the threat. It is staggering to see the huge volume of illegal material that is still being hosted on the open web.
"Platforms continue to push forward with plans to implement privacy enhancing measures such as end-to-end encryption, which do not yet have safety features designed into them. This is despite expert evidence that shows this is possible and that privacy and child safety can co-exist.
"Child sexual abuse remains a high-priority threat for the NCA, and alongside policing we will keep doing everything we can to tackle it.
"But this is not solely a law enforcement issue. We need to see a greater commitment from industry and action across society to create smart, technological solutions that will help reduce the threat.
"Just as it was at the centre of the Inquiry, safeguarding will always be at the heart of our response and we will continue to advocate for measures that will better protect children and young people from sexual abuse."
The full report can be accessed here: https://www.iicsa.org.uk/reports-recommendations/publications/inquiry/final-report
20 October 2022