Crime Stoppers and the NSW Police Force have joined forces with the eSafety Commissioner to launch a Child Protection campaign to combat child sexual abuse and unwanted contact online.
The campaign will run as a pilot in NSW and is the first time a joint initiative between Crime Stoppers, NSW Police and eSafety has taken place. Aimed at parents and carers, the education and awareness campaign will focus on two key crime areas: child sexual abuse material and unwanted contact online.
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 percent of these investigations were completed within two business days and notified to the Australian Federal Police or the INHOPE network.
Crime Stoppers, the NSW Police Force and eSafety 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 one in four young people have been contacted by a stranger online. 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 said 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 – everyone has a role to play in combatting predatory behaviour online, such as unwanted and harmful contact from strangers. There’s a clear obligation on companies to design, develop and deploy all their products and services with user safety in mind, but I also urge all parents and carers to educate themselves about the risks children can face when using the internet,” Mr Fletcher said.
“The information available through the eSafety Commissioner, NSW Police and Crime Stoppers as part of this campaign are valuable resources to help parents and carers have 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,” Ms Inman Grant said.
“We are asking parents to talk to their child before a predator does and make sure that parents are armed with the right responses & strategies.”
NSW Crime Stoppers CEO, Peter Price AM, said we cannot underestimate the valuable contribution the community plays in helping to stop, solve and prevent crime.
“Reporting these crimes enable authorities to shut down the illegal content and catch the offenders. We are asking parents to closely monitor their child’s online activity. If they see or suspect anything of a suspicious or uncomfortable nature, say something,” said CEO, NSW Crime Stoppers, Mr Peter Price AM.
Crime Stoppers in conjunction with eSafety have developed a series of Education Fact Sheets on its website, www.nsw.crimestoppers.com.au for parents and carers to download. 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. We rely on parents and carers to report what they see or know. A preferred outcome is prevention, so parents please monitor your child’s online activity and educate them on how to spot the danger signs,” Mr Price said.
“We know that a whole-of-community approach is necessary to effectively tackle criminal behaviour.”
About the eSafety Commissioner
The eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) is Australia’s national independent regulator for online safety. It helps Australians have safer experiences online through a range of prevention and education resources, as well as legislative complaints schemes to report serious cyberbullying, image-based abuse and illegal content.