Child abuse tip line reports 1.6M complaints in May, many linked to videos

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The coronavirus pandemic may be fueling a disturbing rise in the number of child sexual abuse complaints, according to a nationwide tip line.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s online tip line recorded more than 1.6 million reports in May — a 126% increase compared to numbers from a year ago.

Lindsey Olson, executive director of the center’s Exploited Children Division, said many of those complaints include videos circulating that depict child sexual abuse.

“People are sharing them out of outrage and they’re trying to help the child seen in those videos, and so we’ve received a large amount of reports on just a few videos,” said Olson. “What we ask the public to do actually when they see a video or an image of child sexual abuse material, we ask them to go ahead and report it to their platform as well as to the cyber tip line. We don’t want them to be sharing that content.”

Instead, contact your internet service provider or social media platforms to report the material. You can also call 1-800-THE-LOST or submit a tip at cybertipline.org.

Olson said detailed reports are being forwarded to local law enforcement via Internet Crimes Against Children task forces.

The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office covers southeastern Pennsylvania. New Jersey State Police pursue investigations in the Garden State.