News and Media

NEW LAW OBLIGES ALL MANITOBANS TO REPORT CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

Public Awareness Campaign Launched by Province: Mackintosh

April 15, 2009 - Manitoba is the first province to enact legislation that makes it mandatory to report child pornography, Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.

"Child pornography is child abuse," said Mackintosh. "In any of its forms, it is an affront to humanity. Any delay in reporting child pornography gives a green light to those who take pleasure from the rape of children."

The legislation amends the Child and Family Services Act to include child pornography in the existing definition of child abuse. A person who suspects child pornography, including online content, books, photographs and other audio and visual material, must promptly report the information.

Child pornography can be reported online at www.cybertip.ca or by calling a 24-hour hotline operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (1-866-658-9022). If any reports involve children or suspects from Manitoba, child and family services agencies in the province will investigate to ensure children are protected from further abuse.

Data collected by Cybertip.ca reveals that more than 80 per cent of confirmed child pornography websites analyzed by the organization contain images of children younger than eight and 33 per cent of the images capture sexual assaults against the child victims.

"These statistics underscore the prevalence of the crime and the very young age of the victims being sexually harmed," said Lianna McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. "The first step in creating these images begins with the sexual abuse of children in homes and bedrooms within our own communities. We are confident that this new mandatory reporting law will help reduce the growing number of child victims and the number of images being uploaded to the Internet."

The legislation includes the following new measures:

  • the definition of child pornography in the Child and Family Services Act mirrors the definition in the Criminal Code;
  • no person will be required or authorized to seek out child pornography;
  • an informant's identity will be kept confidential except as required in judicial proceedings or by consent;
  • it is illegal to retaliate against an informant;
  • police will have to advise an employer when an employee having access to children in the workplace is charged with a related offence;
  • Cybertip.ca will report annually to the legislature on its actions under the bill; and
  • penalties for violating the provisions of the act include a maximum fine of $50,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than 24 months.

Following the launching of Tracia's Trust in December 2008, this is another key element of the province's $2.4-million sexual exploitation strategy, Mackintosh said.

"Child pornography is not adult entertainment, nor is it a victimless crime. Every time someone downloads photos or passes on child pornography, they are perpetuating sexual assault, molestation and rape."

In an effort to protect children from the abuse of child pornography, the Government of Manitoba will provide $190,000 to Cybertip.ca. This funding will allow Cybertip.ca to develop the infrastructure needed to support mandatory reporting, as well as assist with public education, said Mackintosh.

To help raise awareness of the duty of Manitobans to report, a multimedia campaign reminding Manitobans that "child pornography doesn't report itself" and "child pornography is child abuse" is now being launched.

Since its launch, Cybertip.ca has received close to 35,000 reports resulting in thousands of websites being shut down, at least 45 arrests and the removal of children from abusive environments.

Backgrounder - MAKING THE CONNECTION

Child Pornography and the Commission of Sexual Offences Against Children

  • 76 per cent of offenders convicted of Internet-related crimes against children admitted to contact sex crimes with children previously unknown by law enforcement. The offenders admitted to an average of 30.5 victims each.1
  • Of 1,400 cases of reported child molestation, pornography was connected with every incident and child pornography was used in the majority of cases.2
  • Child molesters almost always collect child pornography and/or child erotica.3
  • 80 per cent of purchasers of child pornography who were charged were active abusers.4
  • The absence of contact with a child is probably the most significant factor limiting the production of child pornography5, making opportunity a central factor in this crime.
  • Cybertip.ca has received over 35,000 reports, 90 per cent of which are classified by the public as child pornography.
    • 37 per cent of incidents are classified by analysts as confirmed child pornography.
    • 78 per cent of child pornography incidents relate to websites.
  • 81 per cent of web pages have child abuse images of children under eight years of age.
  • 87 per cent of the images depict girl children.
  • 33 per cent of images depict sexual assaults against children with the remaining depicting sexualized posing.
  • Only 30 per cent of children who disclose that they have been sexually abused do so during childhood.6

1 Heimbach, Michael J. (2002), statement before the House Committee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, 107th Congress, Crimes Against Children Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
2 Rabun, John B. (1984), statement before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice, 94th Congress, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
3 Lanning, Kenneth V. (1992), Child Sex Rings: A behavioral analysis for criminal justice professionals handling cases of child sexual exploitation, Second Edition, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
4 Kim, Candice (2004), From Fantasy to Reality: The link between viewing child pornography and molesting children, American Prosecutors Research Institute.
5 Taylor, Max and Quayle, Ethyl (2002), The use of pictures and picture collections of child sexual exploitation in the identification and location of child victims, prepared for the Department of Justice, Canada.
6 National Clearinghouse on Family Violence., sited in Robins, Sydney L. (2000), Protecting our Students, report prepared for the Government of Ontario.