News and Media

MANDATORY REPORTING OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LEGISLATION HELPING TO KEEP KIDS SAFE

For Immediate Release
November 2, 2010

WINNIPEG, MB: A report released today by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection demonstrates the positive impact that Manitoba's new mandatory reporting legislation is having on the protection of children. Since the province enacted legislation in April 2009 to make it mandatory for citizens to report suspected child pornography to the Cybertip.ca tipline, there has been a 126 per cent increase in reports made by Manitobans compared to the previous year. Of these, 17 contained information on an identified child victim or suspect in Manitoba.

"Reports to Cybertip.ca have helped in identifying child victims of sexual abuse as well as suspects in child sexual abuse cases," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. "Manitobans play a significant role in protecting children from abuse and exploitation. The increase in reports made by Manitobans with regard to child pornography demonstrates that they're taking their role seriously, and that mandatory reporting legislation can help to incite action on behalf of concerned citizens."

In response to its research and to address the critical need for child sexual abuse education, the Canadian Centre created the Teatree Tells program to help early educators and parents prevent child sexual abuse. Thanks to support from the Manitoba government, the Teatree Tells: A Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Kit is being sent free of charge to 700 child care centres across the province. The kit includes important information to help those working with children four to six years of age as well as parents learn the facts about child sexual abuse in order to understand the risks and to recognize the signs. The kit also identifies strategies to deal with disclosures of sexual abuse.

"Manitoba's new law has reminded Manitobans of their critical role in combating child pornography. A report to cybertip.ca can save a child or ensnare a predator not only in Manitoba but anywhere in the world. As a result, Manitobans have helped to protect more children, arrest more predators and shut down more websites," said Gord Mackintosh, Manitoba's Minister of Family Services and Consumer Affairs.

To access a copy of the full report, Mandatory Reporting of Child Pornography in Manitoba: 2009-2010 Annual Review, the public can visit cybertip.ca/mr. Copies of the report recommendations and key statistics can also be downloaded.

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If you are a member of the media and would like to arrange an interview with one of our spokespeople please contact our communications team:

Communications, Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Phone:
204-945-8074
204-801-2979 (Cell)

Email:
communications@protectchildren.ca

BACKGROUNDER: MANITOBA MANDATORY REPORTING

What is the mandatory reporting of child pornography legislation?
On April 15, 2009, Manitoba became the first province to enact legislation that requires the mandatory reporting of child pornography. Manitoba's Child and Family Services Act was amended to include child pornography in the definition of child abuse. The legislation obligates all people who reside in Manitoba to report suspected child pornography to Cybertip.ca. All reports relating to a child victim and/or suspect in Manitoba are then forwarded to Child and Family Services (CFS) and law enforcement. The goal of mandatory reporting is to facilitate the reporting of children potentially in need of protection.

What is the Canadian Centre for Child Protection?
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children. Our goal is to reduce child victimization by providing national programs and services to the Canadian public. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection owns and operates Cybertip.ca

What is Cybertip.ca?
Cybertip.ca is Canada's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. The tipline has been operating since September 26, 2002. Cybertip.ca accepts and addresses online and telephone reports from the public regarding child pornography, luring, children exploited through prostitution, child trafficking and traveling sex offenders. Since 2002, Cybertip.ca has received over 40,000 reports from Canadians across the country. Of these reports, 45.6 per cent have been forwarded to law enforcement agencies and/or the INHOPE (International Association of Internet Hotlines) member hotlines. Cybertip.ca is aware of at least 58 arrests executed by law enforcement agencies and numerous children removed from abusive environments in connection with these reports.

Under the provincial mandatory reporting of child pornography legislation, Cybertip.ca was designated as one of the reporting entities. Cybertip.ca analysts are special constables and they review, research and then triage reports to the appropriate agencies. This may include law enforcement agencies, child protection services, and hotline partners. Under the new law if any reports involve possible child victims or suspects from Manitoba, Cybertip.ca forwards the information to child and family services and Manitoba law enforcement, which if necessary, coordinates investigations and ensures children are protected from abuse.

Key Findings of the Report, Mandatory Reporting of Child Pornography in Manitoba

  • The results from the first year of mandatory reporting of child pornography legislation in Manitoba demonstrate the effectiveness of the legislation. In 2009/2010, there was a 126 per cent increase in the number of reports (from 196 reports in 2008/2009 to 442 reports in 2009/2010) submitted by individuals within Manitoba in comparison with the previous year.
  • The majority of reports submitted by Manitobans (75 per cent) were submitted anonymously. But for reports containing child victim and/or suspect information, 87 per cent contained some identifying information with regard to the reporter.
  • The new legislation resulted in 17 reports containing information on an identified child victim and/or suspect in Manitoba being forwarded to CFS. In the year preceding proclamation, there were no child pornography reports forwarded to CFS from Cybertip.ca. CFS determined that several children had been sexually abused by a suspect identified in one report and criminal charges against the suspect are pending. Eight of the reports remain active investigations with CFS.
  • The majority of reports (88 per cent) were about websites.
  • Forty-four per cent of submitted reports were forwarded to law enforcement.
  • Of the reports forwarded to law enforcement, the majority (90 per cent) were forwarded to law enforcement outside of Manitoba.

Key Recommendations of the Report:

The results observed in the year following the enactment of mandatory reporting of child pornography legislation in Manitoba underscore the importance of training, education and public awareness. Each of these is tied into what the Canadian Centre for Child Protection will continue to do moving forward.

Key recommendations:

  1. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection will continue to provide training for child welfare professionals within Manitoba with regard to child pornography (reviewing both the provincial legislation and the connection between child pornography and child sexual abuse).
  2. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection will continue public awareness campaigns across Manitoba, in order to increase the public's understanding of what child pornography is and of their duty to report. Tailored campaigns will be targeted to industry and key stakeholders (i.e. schools, universities) educating them on the legislation, their duty to report, and ensuring organizational policies are consistent with the new legislation.
  3. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection will continue to develop and provide educational materials, including educational materials specific to children under the age of 12 years as well as for adults. In order to prevent child sexual abuse, increase the likelihood of early disclosure and reduce the number of child sexual abuse images being placed online, education is required.
  4. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection will continue to engage in research and advocacy related to the issue of child sexual abuse images.
  5. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection will also be implementing changes to the Cybertip.ca Child Welfare Portal in order to help improve communication with child welfare agencies.