Children may have been left at increased risk from sexual grooming during lockdown, with scores of cases reported in Wales last year.

Charities warn more time online during the pandemic, and less time with teachers and friends who might pick up on worries, has left children more at risk from online grooming.

Victims reported 353 cases to police in Wales in 2020. While this was down from 373 in 2019, numbers have increased rapidly in recent years, following the introduction of the offence of sexual communication with a child in April 2017, according to Home Office figures.

Before 2015, there were just a handful of cases per year, but the number has risen from 52 in 2016 to 228 in 2017, and 333 in 2018.

The numbers of reports in 2020 in North Wales (119) and Dyfed-Powys (60), were at their highest levels since records began in 2004, while Gwent (40) and South Wales (134) both saw numbers down on 2019.

Read the full story from WalesOnline below:

Source: The growing problem of sexual grooming in Wales

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