Self-generated child sexual abuse

Trend: ‘Self-generated’ content

We continue to see an exponential increase in what is termed “self-generated” child sexual abuse content, created using webcams or smartphones and then shared online via a growing number of platforms. In some cases, children are groomed, deceived or extorted into producing and sharing a sexual image or video of themselves. The images and videos predominantly involve girls aged 11 to 13 years old, in their bedrooms or another room in a home setting. With much of the world subject to periods of lockdown at home due to COVID-19, the volume of this kind of imagery has only grown.

Frequently, these child sexual abuse images and videos have been produced using live streaming services, then captured and distributed widely across other sites by offenders. Once captured, these images and videos can be recirculated for years after they were originally created.

Of the 153,369 webpages actioned during 2020, almost half (68,000 or 44%) were assessed as containing self-generated imagery. This is a 16% increase on the total number of reports actioned in 2019, when 132,676 webpages were actioned. Of these, 38,424 were assessed as containing self-generated imagery.

This represents a 77% increase from 2019 to 2020 in the proportion of actioned webpages displaying self-generated imagery.

Severity of child sexual abuse

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Sex of victims

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Analysis by age


Domain analysis