Child abuse predators create ‘handbook’ listing ways to target children during COVID-19 

Australia’s e-safety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant has said that child abusers have created and shared an online grooming manual describing ways to manipulate and exploit children online during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more children spending time online, investigators are seeing a significant increase in the searches by predators on the dark web on how to abuse children. Grant shared ‘The handbook advises predators to get their kicks online rather than trying to meet children face-to-face because of restrictions and heightened vigilance of law enforcement on the streets.’ 

According to the commission’s reports, Australia has witnessed a significant rise in child sexual abuse material reports by 27% in March and 37% in April 2020. The Australian federal police, which runs the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, has seen an increase of 123% in cases of children being targeted through social networking, image or video-sharing apps, and instant messaging between October 2019 and March 2020, when compared with the same period the previous year.