Initiative to Support Child Sexual Abuse Survivors

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Groundbreaking tool to remove online
child sexual abuse material

Survivors’ Survey speaks to the damaging impacts of the sharing of
child sexual abuse material

Project Arachnid

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has developed a new tool to combat the growing proliferation of child sexual abuse material on the Internet. This automated crawler, called Project Arachnid, helps reduce the online availability of child sexual abuse material and break the cycle of abuse.

Project Arachnid detects images and videos based on confirmed digital fingerprints of illegal content. This innovative tool detects content at a speed exponentially faster than current methods. Over only a six week period, Project Arachnid:

  • Processed over 230 million web pages
  • Detected over 5.1 million unique web pages hosting child sexual abuse material
  • Detected over 40,000 unique images of child sexual abuse

When child sexual abuse material is identified, a notice is sent to the hosting provider to request its immediate removal.

Survivors’ Survey: Preliminary Results


    If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, please know that our team is working hard to make positive change happen for you and for future generations of survivors.

    We believe change is coming.

    It is important that we share with the public the reality of what we are seeing and hearing from survivors, and what we are learning through our research and technical solutions.

    If you feel reading this information and our report might be difficult for you, or if you find yourself feeling distressed after reading it, we encourage you to reach out to supports in your community. This could include personal supports (family and friends) or professional supports (therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselling and crisis response agencies). The online exploitation and abuse of children is a growing problem and we are invested in finding solutions that will prevent this crime and provide protection and support to those impacted by it.

The need for Project Arachnid was based upon witnessing the growing proliferation of child sexual abuse material and was further validated by the Canadian Centre’s International Survivors’ Survey.

This survey was developed to better understand the unique challenges faced by survivors whose abuse as a child was recorded and in many instances distributed online. As of January 2017, 128 survivors from around the world have contributed valuable information about their experiences. Some of the preliminary results1 include:

  • 73% of the survivors worry about being recognized by someone because of the recording of their child sexual abuse
  • Nearly 60% of the survivors indicated that the single/primary abuser was a parent
  • 56% of the survivors indicated that the abuse began between the ages of 0–four, and of those, over 60% indicated that the abuse continued into adulthood
  • At least 66 surveys (52%) involved organized sexual abuse (abuse that involves children being subjected to sexual abuse by multiple offenders)
  • 67% of the survivors were threatened with physical harm and of those 43% of those were told they would die or be killed
  • 82% of the survivors anticipate needing ongoing/future therapy

The survey continues to be available and we encourage other survivors to participate in this important initiative.

1. All numbers are based on the report released January 17, 2017 titled Survivor's Survey Preliminary Report and are subject to the explanations and limitations set out in the report. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number and are subject to change in the final report. Not all survivors responded to all questions in the survey, so not all percentages are based on 128 responses.