Child abusers have created and shared an online grooming manual describing ways to manipulate and exploit the increased number of children at home and online during Covid-19, Australia’s e-safety commissioner has said.
Covid-19 restrictions have coincided with a significant increase in reports to the eSafety Office about child sexual abuse material, Julie Inman Grant told Guardian Australia. She said investigators had seen a jump in searches by predators on the dark web seeking information on how to abuse children.
“I think of it like bees in a hive, gathering around the honey,” Inman Grant said. “Abusers see Covid-19 as a honey pot for them, with at-risk boys and girls spending much more time at home and online, often without supervision, and often while feeling isolated and lonely.”