Children’s eSafety Commissioner Reports on First Year
26 July 2016 at 10:59 am
More than 7,400 investigations into online child sexual abuse material have been carried out by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner in its first year.
The office, established on 1 July 2015 to protect Australian children from cyberbullying, online harassment and predatory behaviour, has issued a 12-month report card to mark its first birthday.
According to the report card, which was published on Tuesday, in its first year the office conducted 11,121 online content investigations, and removed 7,465 URLs of child sexual abuse material, 92 per cent of which depicted children who were primary school age or younger.
Acting commissioner Andree Wright said 95 per cent of these victims were girls.
“[They are] very young girls, who are re-victimised when this material is shared online,” Wright said.
“The age of the children we are seeing, and the disturbing nature of this content, underscores the need for us to get this material taken down as rapidly as possible.”
Since it was established, the office has worked with 50 international partners to remove URLs hosting the content and to refer information to law enforcement agencies in Australia and overseas.
Wright said they were helping to end the cycle of re-victimisation.
“Every image of child sexual abuse is a crime scene,” she said.
“We are actively helping to end the cycle of re-victimisation of children all over the world.”
The office said it had also helped resolve 186 complaints of serious cyberbullying for under 18s.
It found 15-year-olds were the primary targets of reported cyberbullying material with 71 per cent of targets were girls, while 29 per cent of targets were boys.
According to the 12-month report card in its first year of operation the office has:
- educated more than 59,000 students across Australia through virtual classrooms – video presentations delivered online by the office’s eSafety trainers
- delivered face-to-face presentations to more than 71,000 Australians
- received 186 serious cyberbullying complaints, most commonly relating to girls and predominantly involving harmful comments, name-calling and the posting of offensive or upsetting images / videos
- received over 2.9 million page views on its website.
The office rolled out two new initiatives in 2016, eSafetyWomen, providing resources and advice to counter the rise of technology facilitated abuse and a range of online resources for parents, giving guidance on cybersafety issues and online content.
The office has also worked closely with students, parents and teachers to teach children how to act responsibly online and to encourage safe, positive online experiences.
Wright said they were looking to the future.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, but our eyes are now fixed forward on making the internet a safer place for all Australians today and tomorrow,” she said.