Federal ministers meet with victims and families of online sexual violence to discuss need for regulatory change
For Immediate Release
Winnipeg, Canada — Today, survivors and families whose lives have been irreparably changed because of online sexual violence met with the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. During the virtual roundtable, hosted by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P), victims shared their stories and implored the government to regulate the internet to keep Canadian children and survivors safe from online harm.
Over the past six months, C3P’s Cybertip.ca, Canada’s tipline to report the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, which last week marked its 20th anniversary, has seen a 39 per cent overall increase in online child victimization. Offenders have intensified their control tactics, which includes increasing the use of humiliation, and utilizing multiple accounts to target youth.
Survivors and families spoke about the impact of their victimization and how technology played a critical role. Their difficult stories include child sexual abuse material, sextortion, online grooming and luring, doxing, and stalking. While these crimes were facilitated online, the day‑to‑day impacts to the victims and families are immeasurable. Each underscored the urgency for online regulation, which they hope will protect children and prevent future victimization.
The discussions centred on the critical need for the Government of Canada to introduce a regulatory framework to ensure the same safeguards children have in the offline world are available in digital spaces. There is also a need to hold technology companies accountable for the products and services they put online.
In the last six months, Cybertip.ca saw a 56 per cent increase in incidents of sextortion, and a 43 per cent increase in incidents of online luring.
Project Arachnid, C3P’s global tool for disrupting the distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), has led to the removal of seven million pieces of CSAM.
From 2020‑21, Project Arachnid sent just over 2.2 million takedown notices. In 2021‑22, it climbed to more than six million‑roughly a 177 per cent increase.
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