95.1% of sexual abusers of children through the Internet have no criminal record and almost half are people completely unknown to minors. This is extracted from the report of Save the Children ‘For justice at the level of childhood. Analysis of sentences on sexual abuse of boys and girls in Spain’, which analyzes almost 400 judicial sentences of cases of this type of violence in Spain.
According to the latest data from Ministry of Interior, in 2022, 954 complaints were filed in Spain for sexual crimes over the Internet in which the victim was a child or adolescent. This represents 84% of the total reports of this type of crime, which makes minors an “especially vulnerable” group in cases of ‘grooming’ – when an adult impersonates a minor or tries to establish a relationship. of trust with minors over the Internet to abuse them. “The abuser gradually gains their trust to involve them in sexual activity, which can range from talking about sex and obtaining photos or videos to having a sexual encounter,” says Catalina Perazzo, director of social and political advocacy at Save the Children.
57.4% of victims of Internet abuse are girls, while boys represent 42.6% of cases. In the case of physical sexual abuse, the number of girls is higher: eight out of ten are women.
Cintia Espada, Social Action technician at Save the Children, tells how a case of online grooming which had two children aged 14 and 15 as victims: “We detected that an alleged friend of the children, after spending time talking to them and gaining their trust, began to ask them for money in exchange for photographs and videos of sexual content. through a social network. They also stated that they had never seen him in person. We activated our protocols and, after reporting it to the police, we discovered that he was an adult man who had already abused more boys and girls through the internet. “.
Save the Children is concerned about the length of judicial proceedings. In 67% of the cases, the judicial process lasted between two and three years. From this organization, they ask the Government to create courts specialized in caring for children who are victims of violence, to create a specific prosecutor’s office for violence against children, to provide more training for legal operators and to strengthen legal assistance to victims. victims. In addition, they advocate providing minors with “tools to prevent” these situations and so that they themselves can identify situations in which they may be at risk.