Radio 2

Big increase in the number of calls to child sex abuse prevention helpline

“Stop It Now”, an anonymous helpline that aims to prevent children from becoming victims of sexual abuse saw the number of calls it receive increase by 65% last year. During 2020 the helpline was contacted more than than 1,500 times. Stop It Now says that the increase in the number of calls is above all linked to last year’s lockdowns. 

Minne De Boeck is a criminologist and is responsible for the Stop It Now project at the University Forensic Centre. Ms De Boeck told VRT News that “This crisis has once again shown that the prevention of child sexual abuse is absolutely necessary. The figures for sexual violence within families have risen in times of corona, but the sexual abuse of children online also took on huge proportions”. 

This was reflected in the number of calls to Stop It Now. They were up by 65% in 2020 compared with 2019. The lion’s share of the calls came from adults harbouring paedophile tendencies. However, a good portion of the people that contacted Stop It Now did so due to concerns about someone close to them.

"Among those that were concerned about their own sexual feelings or behaviour towards minors, there were above all requests for help concerning their online viewing behaviour. This isn’t really surprising given that during the lockdowns people spent more time online”, Ms De Boeck told VRT News.   

Stop It Now can be contacted via this link.

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