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1,932 children investigated over online abuse in past three years, suggests new figures

Each day there are around 20 new cases of online abuse reported, with nearly 2,000 children and 20,000 adults having been investigated over the past three years for comments made on social media sites.

New figures, obtained by Sky News under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that since 2011 an approximate 1,932 children had been investigated and 1,203 charged, formally cautioned, fined or warned over online abuse.

Among that group, four ten year olds and one nine year olds were cautioned by the police.

Meanwhile, 19,279 adults were investigated over the same time period, with 11,292 being either charged or cautioned.

It is understood that these figures may be higher as one third of the police force didn’t respond to the request.

Police have said the rise in cases has led to an increased workload that they are struggling to handle.

Last year, the CPS issued new guidance in an effort to better define what should be treated as a criminal offence. It urged prosecutors to decide if a case was a “credible threat of violence to the person or damage to property” and to seriously take into consideration the age of those being investigated.

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