Instagram named biggest child grooming platform.

Sex offenders are grooming children on Instagram more than any other online platform, a charity has found.

Police in England and Wales recorded 1,944 incidents of sexual communication with children in the six months to September 2018, the NSPCC said.

Instagram was used in 32% of the 1,317 cases where a method was recorded, Facebook in 23% and Snapchat in 14%.

Instagram and Facebook said they “aggressively” fought grooming, while Snapchat said it was “unacceptable”.

Sexual communication with a child became an offence in April 2017.

Following pressure from campaigners, sexual communication with a child became an offence in April 2017.

In the 18 months that followed, more than 5,000 online grooming offences were recorded by police, according to the data gathered by the NSPCC.

The charity said the figures did not “fully reflect the scale of the issue”, as many crimes went undetected or unreported.

One in five ages 11 or under.

Where the police logged age and gender, seven out of 10 victims were girls aged 12 to 15. One in five was aged 11 or under. The youngest victim was five years old.

The NSPCC said 39 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales responded to Freedom of Information requests, with only Surrey, Sussex, Northampton and City of London police failing to provide data.

The children’s charity is calling for new laws to force social media firms to do more to protect children.

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