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80 children victims of online bullying and blackmail in 2018

March 2, 2019 at 2:18pm
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There has been an increase in child pornography cases, while online bullying has spiralled, says the head of police’s cyber crime unit Andreas Anastasiades.

In an interview with Phileleftheros’ police correspondent Michalis Hadjivassilis  published on Saturday, Anastasiades said the number of reported child porn cases has jumped from 23 in 2013 to 133 in 2018.

What is even more worrying, in 10 cases victims demonstrated suicidal tendencies last year because of bullying or because they were being blackmailed with indecent photos, the paper added.

Anastasiades said his office had investigated 133 child porn cases in 2018, 120 in 2017 and 126 in 2016.

“There has been a gradual increase and if we compare with the 23 cases of 2013 we see how big the problem is. We are among the countries with the highest proportion of cases in relation to population in the EU,” he said.

The unit was trying to combat the issue, with fairly good results, prosecutions and convictions but the issue remained of deep concern, he added.

In 2018, the unit also dealt with 45 cases of hacking 30 cases of internet fraud and 10 cases of suicidal tendencies by an internet user.

In addition it handled 57 requests by other countries, one case of racism and 18 other cyber crime cases.

Anastasiades said that over and above the child porn cases, the unit had also handled about 80 instances where children have filed complaints either regarding the distribution of indecent photos, grooming or other complaints.

He urged parents and children to come forward immediately and file a complaint so that the cyber crime unit can act. In one instance the complaint was filed a month later, and meanwhile the content had been widely distributed among a school population — thus the need to move quickly.