Online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. With Australians driving demand for young children to be abused in front of a webcam, Australia must do more to combat this crime and protect children.
The change we’d like to see
IJM recommends that government, business and civil society work together to:
1. SUPPORT SURVIVORS
Victims of online child sexual abuse are often very young and the trauma caused is deep and lasting. Survivors need financial and therapeutic support to help them heal from the abuse.
When the abuse is commissioned by an Australian, their victims should have access to compensation, whether they are in Australia or overseas.
2. SECURE SENTENCES THAT SUIT THE CRIME
Despite amendments to sentencing laws in 2020, prison terms continue to be low for convicted online child sex offenders. Sentencing should recognise that even when viewed on a livestream, the physical and sexual harm inflicted on child victims is just as real.
Australia must ensure sentences for offenders are proportionate to the severity of the harm.
3. DRIVE DETECTION AND DISRUPTION OF OSEC
By the time an abusive image or video is identified, the children in it have been abused for months, or even years. Livestreaming may only leave traces in the form of chatlogs.
We must invest in technology to detect abuse before it happens, and disrupt predators from uploading, downloading or streaming abuse.
4. REQUIRE REPORTING BY TECH COMPANIES
Tech companies should provide an account of the nature and extent of child abuse occurring on their platforms, as well as the measures they take to address it.
Tech companies can improve transparency and global efforts to combat OSEC by implementing the Technology Coalition’s Voluntary Industry Framework for Transparency Reporting and becoming a Member of the Internet Watch Foundation.
5. PROTECT FUNDING TO PROTECT CHILDREN
It takes money to investigate reports of online child sexual abuse, prosecute offenders, support victims and develop detection and disruption capabilities.
Whatever the economic circumstances, Australia must maintain and increase funding to combat OSEC.
Learn more about IJM’s work to combat online sexual exploitation of children.
Watch The truth about the internet.
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