The eSafety Commissioner found new allies in the NSW Police Force and the Crime Stoppers as they launch a Child Protection campaign to combat child sexual abuse and unwanted contact online.
As reported, the campaign will run as a pilot in NSW and is the first time a joint initiative between Crime Stoppers/Police and eSafety has taken place.
The education and awareness campaign is aimed at parents and carers and will focus on two key crime areas: child sexual abuse material and unwanted contact online.
Background of the campaign
Child sexual abuse material is rife on the internet.
In the 2018-2019 financial year, eSafety’s Cyber Report Team finalised statutory investigations into more than 8,000 images and videos depicting child sexual abuse.
Over 99% of these investigations were completed within two business days and notified to the Australian Federal Police or the INHOPE network.
eSafety and its two partners are asking the community to be vigilant online. If someone suspects or sees something related to online child sexual abuse, it should be reported immediately so action can be taken.
Predators are increasingly gaining access to children online through popular apps, games and social media sites to solicit sexual images or video, or harm them physically.
Research by eSafety has revealed 1 in 4 young people have been contacted by a stranger online.
Child Protection against online abuse
The joint campaign will help parents and carers understand the warning signs of unwanted contact, protect their child’s privacy online, and to report suspicious activity.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher explained that the campaign is an important initiative to encourage parents and carers to consider the online safety of children in their care.
The online safety of children is a shared responsibility and everyone has a role to play in combatting predatory behaviour online, such as unwanted and harmful contact from strangers.
There is a clear obligation on companies to design, develop and deploy all their products and services with user safety in mind.
However, parents and carers should also educate themselves about the risks children can face when using the internet.
The information available through the campaign is valuable resource to help parents and carers have the much needed conversations with the children in their lives about staying safe online.
The eSafety Commissioner, Ms Julie Inman Grant, wants everyone to be more aware of the dangers to children online, and the strategies for reducing risks and reporting suspect online behaviour.
Child abuse and exploitation can happen online. The predator could be a stranger, online ‘friends’ your child has not met face-to-face, or someone they actually know.
Valuable contribution from the community
The valuable contribution that the community plays in helping to stop, solve, and prevent crime cannot be underestimated.
Reporting these crimes enable authorities to shut down the illegal content and catch the offenders.
A series of Education Fact Sheets are available for download here. The Fact Sheets will provide more detailed information on reporting child sexual abuse material and prevention strategies to keep children safe online.
With many crimes there are usually witnesses but online crimes happen in the privacy of a child’s phone or computer.
Thus, parents and carers need to report what they see or know. A preferred outcome is prevention. Parents should monitor their child’s online activity and educate them on how to spot the danger signs.