MORE than 1,700 child abuse image and sexual grooming offences have happened in Wales since a White Paper on Online Harms was published in April, the NSPCC estimates.

Based on the latest police recorded crime data from the first three months of 2019/2020, it is estimated an average of six online abuse offences against a child was recorded in Wales every day for just over nine months.

The Online Harms Reduction Regulator Bill will be introduced into the House of Lords today, and the charity is backing the Private Member’s Bill.

It would require Ofcom to prepare for regulation by effectively appointing it as an interim online harms regulator.

The NSPCC supports the Billl as it believes it will speed up the timescales for the Government to uphold their manifesto promise by introducing comprehensive legislation to protect children from abuse online.

Until then, the charity estimates 90 online child abuse crimes a day across England and Wales could continue to happen.

The legislation would include the establishment of an online regulator that would enforce Duty of Care which would legally require social networks to ensure their platforms are safe for children to use and companies could face fines or criminal prosecution if they breach their responsibilities.

As part of its Wild West Web campaign, the charity has been calling for these plans since April 2018, saying it would set a global standard for online child protection.

It is now urging the Government to set out a clear timeline for implementation and to introduce a comprehensive Online Harms Bill to set out the powers of the Duty of Care regulator with child safety at the heart of it.

The charity NSPCC also wants the industry to be proactive in identifying and stopping child abuse on platforms and not waiting until the last possible moment to keep children safe.

“By our estimates, an average of six potential online abuse crimes against children come to light a day in Wales, so it is crystal clear regulation cannot come soon enough," said Des Mannion, NSPCC Wales head of policy.

“The Prime Minister must confirm plans to press ahead with a comprehensive Duty of Care, and urgently introduce an Online Harms Bill that will deliver a well-resourced regulator with the powers to take on big tech.

“Anything less will let tech giants off the hook and have a significant impact on hundreds of children across Wales, their families and law enforcement who are left to fight increasingly complex online child abuse day in and day out.”

• Published figures do not reveal how many of the Obscene Publication offences involve images of children but results from the NSPCC’s previous Freedom of Information request suggest the vast majority are.