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Multi-sector Partnerships and Collaborations to tackle and prevent Child Online Abuse and Exploitation

2/6/2017 6:45:36 PM

Multi-sector Partnerships and Collaborations to tackle and prevent Child Online Abuse and Exploitation

The multidimensional and fast-changing nature of ICT and social media poses unprecedented challenges for the prevention of and response to child online abuse and exploitation. In order to establish child online protection systems, adequate structures, coordination mechanisms, capacities and resources need to be established. One of the key challenges is the transnational nature of the Internet. Conventional legislative frameworks and law enforcement are ineffective in the face of crimes and offences committed in the virtual world by people who live in other countries or continents. 

No single agency can ensure the safety of children from online abuse and exploitation. Relevant government institutions, the private sector, international organizations, academia and civil society have to work together to build structures, mechanisms and capacities to prevent and respond to child online abuse and exploitation. A safe online ecosystem for children requires technical solutions and a high degree of preparedness, collaboration and coordination among stakeholders.

In order to ensure prompt removal of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), effective collaboration is needed between the ICT industry and law enforcement agencies. India does not yet have a hotline for reporting and removing online CSAM. Data on the reporting and removal of CSAM is not monitored and few people in India have the skills and knowledge to report CSAM. Adequate guidance, protocols or coordinated response are lacking. 

Under-reporting of child online abuse: Online offences against children are generally underreported due to a lack of awareness of the law and limited understanding of what constitutes abuse or exploitation. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) only monitors reported cases, which do not reflect the actual incidence of cyber offences against children.

Data collection and analysis: Weak recording systems limit the quality of data analysis. Annual NCRB reports do not collate information on cybercrimes against children. By 2016, the Crime and Criminal Tracking and Network System is expected to record all cases registered at police stations.

Services for victims of child online exploitation and abuse: Only a few facilities exist for child victims of cyber offences and they have limited outreach and are of uneven quality. Specialized facilities for counselling and rehabilitation tend to be concentrated in urban areas. The juvenile justice administration lacks counselling services for underage online offenders and there is no standard response protocol for cases of online abuse and exploitation within the education system. Capacity development initiatives for functionaries of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme do not yet include the management of online abuse and exploitation cases. 

For more info Download UNICEF India Child Online Protection in India Report (September 2016)

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