November 14, 2013
For Immediate Release
WINNIPEG, MB: Today the Canadian Centre for Child Protection applauds the Toronto Police Service for the important outcomes pertaining to Project Spade. The announcement underscores the magnitude of the problem of online child sexual abuse in Canada. Reports made by the public to the Centre’s Cybertip.ca program helped identify websites that led to police agencies arresting hundreds of offenders and removing numerous children from abusive environments.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the important role every Canadian plays in the protection of our children,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “One report to Cybertip.ca could help protect countless children.”
Cybertip.ca is Canada’s national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. The tipline has received nearly 100,000 reports from the public in its 11 years of operation. In 2009, Cybertip.ca published a detailed research report regarding child sexual abuse images on websites. Of the 4,110 unique images analyzed for the study, 82.1% depicted very young, pre-pubescent children under 12 years of age. Most concerning was the severity of abuse depicted with over 35% of all images showing serious sexual assaults.
In response to the growing problem of online child pornography and the direct connection to offline child sexual abuse, the Centre developed the Commit to Kids program to reduce child sexual abuse from occurring in child-serving organizations. The program provides organizations with a step-by-step plan using a risk-management approach that is much broader than criminal record and child abuse registry checks for preventing child sexual abuse.
The arrests of individuals whose professions or volunteer work provided close contact with children highlights the importance of child-serving organizations having the necessary tools in place to reduce the likelihood that an offender will successfully gain access to and sexually abuse a child in their care. Research shows that the majority of offenders do not have a criminal record.
“Prevention is key, especially in child-serving organizations that may attract employees and volunteers looking to access and sexually offend against children,” says Detective Sgt. Kim Gross, Toronto Police Service. “Commit to Kids is an invaluable child sexual abuse prevention program that helps child-serving organizations better protect the children in their care.”
“The protection of children is all of our responsibility,” says McDonald. “We are not powerless - it is in our control. An important step toward creating safer environments for our children is for child-serving organizations to learn more about implementing the Commit to Kids child sexual abuse prevention program.”
About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The goal of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (www.protectchildren.ca) is to reduce child victimization by providing programs and services to the Canadian public. Its four national programs include Cybertip.ca (www.cybertip.ca), Canada’s tipline to report the online sexual exploitation of children; MissingKids.ca (www.missingkids.ca), a national missing children resource and response centre; Kids in the Know (www.kidsintheknow.ca), an interactive child personal safety program for children in Kindergarten to Grade Nine; and Commit to Kids (www.commit2kids.ca), a program to help child-serving organizations create safer environments for the children in their care and reduce their risk of sexual abuse.
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