The international problem of online child sexual abuse needs an international solution and the European Parliament is calling for united efforts to investigate online child sexual abuse, prosecute offenders, protect child victims and remove illegal online content.
More than 80% of the victims are under 10 years old and Parliament’s call for action states that:
- any illicit content must be promptly removed and reported to law enforcement authorities, with the ICT industry, internet service providers and internet host providers ensuring fast and efficient removal
- Europol and national law enforcement authorities should be given the necessary funds, human resources, investigative powers and technical capabilities to “seriously and effectively pursue, investigate and prosecute the offenders”
- new high-tech capabilities should be developed to meet the challenges of analysing vast amounts of child abuse imagery, including material hidden on the “dark web”
- the online personal data of children must be protected, and they should be informed in an easy and child-friendly way of the risks and consequences of using their data online
- awareness-raising campaigns on responsible behaviour in the social media and online sexual abuse prevention programmes should be set up to empower children and support parents and educators in understanding and handling online risks. Hotlines should also be developed to enable children to denounce abuse anonymously
- International cooperation and transnational investigations must be stepped up, since these crimes span hundreds of countries with different legal jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies.
A new joint initiative by the EU and 55 countries will form the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online. This aims to rescue more victims, ensure more effective prosecution, raise awareness and achieve an overall reduction in the amount of child sexual abuse material available online.
To read more about a project aimed at reducing the victimisation of children on the internet, go to http://ec.europa.eu