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Rise in number of sexual grooming cases.

SEXUAL grooming is on the rise in Wales with figures soaring in the last year, according to the NSPCC.

The shock figures show there were 4,373 offences recorded in the year to April 2019 compared with 3,217 in the previous year across England and Wales.

Following campaigning by the organisation, the new offence of Sexual Communication with a Child came into force on April 3, 2017, with more children being targeted online.

In Wales, there were 310 offences recorded in the year to April 2019 compared to 274 in 2018.

Figures show one in five victims was aged only 11 or younger according to data obtained from 43 police forces in England and Wales under Freedom of Information laws.

Double the number of recorded instances of such offences were reported on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, during 2018/2019 in England and Wales.

In Wales, Instagram accounted for 90 of the offences recorded last year.

The Westminster Government is looking to draft an Online Harms Bill early next year following the NSPCC's Wild West Web campaign. It could bring in independent regulation of social networks with tough sanctions available if they fail to keep children safe.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 11, 2019
Words:199
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