Rape in the metaverse: a case for the real-life police?

Investigation launched into attack on girl in virtual reality game amid warnings that sexual offences 'rife' in online worlds

A girl wearing VR goggles
Police are calling for new legislation to tackle the growing threat of online sexual abuse of children
(Image credit: Kokouu/Getty Images)

UK police are investigating an alleged rape in the metaverse, after a child's avatar was attacked in a virtual reality game.

A girl under the age of 16 was left "distraught" after her digital character was "gang raped" by a group of "several adult men" in an online room, the Daily Mail's crime editor Rebecca Camber reported. Although there was "no physical attack", officers were said to have claimed the girl "suffered the same psychological and emotional trauma as someone who has been raped in the real world", as the metaverse – online experiences often accessed via virtual reality headsets – is "designed to be completely immersive".

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