Lisbon, 18 Nov 2019 (Lusa) – Sexual crimes on the Internet against children increased by 40% in Portugal between January and October this year, the Chief Inspector of the Judicial Police (PJ) Carla Costa told Lusa news agency today.

Speaking about the European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse that was marked today in Lisbon, the chief inspector of the National Unit for the Fight against Cybercrime and Technological Crime (UNC3T) said that research and Detection of sex offenders results not only from the filing of complaints but from the whole work of “prevention and monitoring” on the Internet space.

Carla Costa admitted that investigating such crimes is time consuming and “sometimes complicated” because it involves the collaboration of other entities – servants and operators – requiring the intervention of a judge to authorize certain investigations.

The chief inspector also stressed the importance of partnerships with APAV (Portuguese Association for Victim Support) and the association “Kids Safe at NET”, which has developed awareness raising activities in schools and disseminated content related to the theme.

Carla Costa acknowledged that the fact that such offenses against children were a “public crime” facilitated the opening of the investigation because it was no longer dependent on a complaint or reporting to law enforcement and judicial authorities.

PJ’s chief inspector revealed that this criminal investigation police are “conducting studies on the profiles of online sex offenders,” adding that 97% of them are male. As for the age group, it has been “diverse” so far.

On the other hand, he said, some of the sex offenders already have criminal records related to this type of crime, namely child pornography, but also other associated crime.

In his view, it is now “important” to continue with prevention and various awareness-raising actions and campaigns with schools and children and young people, especially because they are “easy victims” due to their age and lack of experience.

In the meantime, it was reported today that more than 2,700 children have been sexually abused in the past three years and that by 2019 dozens of children and young people have asked for help because of a crime that occurs mainly in the family and leaves irreversible marks.

European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse is a date created by the Council of Europe to remind you that on average one in five children in Europe are victims of some form of violence or sexual exploitation.

Statistical data from the Ministry of Justice show that in the last three years, between 2016 and 2018, 2,752 crimes of sexual abuse of minors were recorded by the Portuguese police authorities, and more than 5,000 cases were filed with the PJ.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, 822 people have been convicted in the last three years for sexual abuse of minors, most of whom (49%) have been suspended with probation, and 31% of cases have been effectively punished. .