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The Internet and Child Sexual Abuse

An inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation facilitated by the internet.

No issue is more pressing for contemporary child protection than the role of the internet in facilitating child sexual abuse. Developments in technology have created new opportunities for offending against children. Some reflect patterns of offending which have existed for years: for example, the creation, possession and distribution of indecent images of children or the grooming of children for the purpose of abuse at a later time. Other opportunities to offend are new, including the use of online streaming as a means of abusing children who may be in the UK or abroad.

In this investigation, the Inquiry will review national policies on preventing abuse facilitated by the internet and will consider the appropriateness of the response of the National Crime Agency, its CEOP Command, and the police. The Inquiry will investigate the policies of internet service providers, providers of online platforms, and other relevant software and communication technology companies relating to child sexual abuse, and consider the adequacy of the existing statutory and regulatory framework applicable to those organisations. The objective of the investigation is to make practical recommendations that minimise the opportunities for abuse facilitated by the internet in the future.

Next steps for the investigation:

A preliminary hearing in relation to this investigation will be held at 10.30 on 19 September 2017 the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) in London. 

Any application submitted after 28 July 2017 will need to explain why it has been submitted out of time. Delay in submitting an application, without good reason, will be taken into account and may cause an application to be refused.

The IDRC is a 10 minute walk from Blackfriars Underground station (Circle and District Line) and five minutes from City Thameslink. Directions on website.

The preliminary hearing will be open to the public, however, seating is likely to be limited and therefore it will be allocated on a first come, first served, basis. Attendees should also allow sufficient time to pass through security checks at the venue.

For your security everyone entering the hearing centre must undergo a security search with a hand-held metal detector. If you have any concerns about this please ask to speak to a support worker. For more information about attending a hearing please read this document.

The Inquiry is encouraging all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experience via our Truth Project.

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