Surprisingly, popular social networking hotspots like Facebook and Myspace, reports indicate, have refused to embed a "report button" to allow users to report online abuse.
According to a report in New Scientist, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has devised the free "abuse button" that would link children and teenagers to advice and put them in contact with counsellors and law enforcement officers.
AdvertisementJim Gamble, head of the CEOP, said that his team has long tried to persuade popular sites to adopt the tool.
He dismissed the technical difficulties raised by some sites including Facebook and MySpace as "red herrings".
5000 investigations have been initiated because of information received from those using the button, leading to 800 arrests in the past three years, according to the CEOP.
Facebook hit back at the criticism, by saying that it had previously tested similar systems.
It said that such systems had been shown to be ineffective and actually reduced the reporting of abuse, and that as an international site, it preferred to have its own global system.
Facebook attracted widespread criticism and was forced into a U-turn earlier this year when it quietly changed its terms and conditions to allow it to sell or share users' data once they had closed their accounts.