The government is committed to publishing a first of its kind national strategy on tackling all forms of child sexual abuse, outlining our long-term ambition to drive a whole system response to tackle this horrific crime. However, we must respond to the threats raised by Covid-19 and our priority is to tackle offending, protect children and support victims and survivors during this challenging time.
We have responded swiftly to the risks posed by COVID-19. We are working with Law Enforcement, the UK Intelligence Community, safeguarding partners and the third sector to assess the threat and ensure they have the resources they need to tackle offending and provide the greatest protection for vulnerable children.
The Government has made £1.6 million available immediately for the NSPCC to expand and promote its national helpline for adults. We have also launched a £1.2 million funding competition for organisations providing support for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse at a national level, including through support lines, online resources and remote counselling. We have further driven forward work to respond to the increased risk of children coming to harm online, by working across government, with the NCA and industry to ensure that teachers, parents and carers have access to the support they need to help keep children safe online.
The Home Office will further distribute £7.8 million in emergency support for charities helping vulnerable children who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The Home Office is working closely with other government departments to ensure that this funding is prioritised and that charities who need this support receive it as soon as possible.
On Thursday 21st May, the Prime Minister hosted a virtual summit focused on ‘hidden harms’, including child sexual abuse. The virtual summit brought key decision makers together to share insight, best practice and agree an approach for tackling these crimes as we move towards easing lockdown measures.
Ahead of the summit, the Home Secretary announced that £9.86 million is being allocated to the National Crime Agency to improve its ability to tackle perpetrators seeking to offend against children via the Dark Web. An additional £3.36 million is being committed to further improve our understanding and tackle all aspects of the child sexual abuse threat. We will also launch a £2.8 million transformation fund to promote and embed best practice in Child Sexual Abuse victim support.