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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.

1. The Inquiry will investigate the nature and extent of the use of the internet and other digital communications technology (collectively ‘the internet’) to facilitate child sexual abuse, including by way of sharing indecent images of children; viewing or directing the abuse of children via online streaming or video conferencing; grooming or otherwise coordinating contact offences against children; or by any other means. The investigation shall incorporate case specific investigations and a review of existing information available from published and unpublished reports and reviews, court cases, and previous investigations.

2. In doing so, the Inquiry will consider the experiences of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse facilitated by the internet, and investigate the adequacy of:

2.1. government policy relevant to the protection of children from sexual abuse facilitated by the internet;

2.2. the relevant statutory and regulatory framework applicable to internet service providers, providers of online platforms, and other relevant software companies;

2.3. the response of internet service providers, providers of online platforms, and other relevant software companies to child sexual abuse facilitated by the internet;

2.4. the response of law enforcement agencies to child sexual abuse facilitated by the internet;

2.5. the response of the criminal justice system to child sexual abuse facilitated by the internet.

3. To investigate the issues set out above the Inquiry may:

3.1. commission preliminary and further research as to the issues set out in paragraphs 1 and 2; and

3.2. identify a number of case studies for a close investigation of the issues set out in those paragraphs.

4. In light of the investigations set out above, the Inquiry will publish a report setting out its findings, lessons learned, and recommendations to improve child protection and safeguarding in England and Wales.

The Internet and Child Sexual Abuse - Definition of Scope

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