Canada’s Liberal government is spending more than $22 million to prevent the online sexual abuse of children, through an expanded strategy that partners with police, digital industry and international allies.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced details of the investment, earmarked in this year’s budget, in Ottawa Tuesday. It expands on a strategy aimed at raising awareness, reducing the stigma around reporting and enhancing Canada’s ability to pursue and prosecute offenders.
The investment includes:
- $2.1 million to intensify engagement with digital industry to develop new tools online and support effective operating principles.
- $4.9 million for research, public engagement, awareness and collaboration with non-governmental organizations.
- $15.25 million to internet child exploitation units in provincial and municipal police forces across the country.
Goodale said police-reported incidents of child pornography in Canada increased by 288 per cent between 2010 and 2017, and said this type of crime is notoriously under-reported.
Tuesday’s announcement follows a meeting last week with Canada’s so-called Five Eyes intelligence partners in London: the U.K., the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, where the sexual exploitation of children topped the agenda.
“Very young girls are the principal victims, and their victimization can last a very long time. The consequences are painful and devastating,” Goodale said.
“In the Five Eyes countries, we are totally united in our determination to combat the absolute evil of child sexual exploitation.”
Goodale said the national strategy recognizes technology is “increasingly facilitating the easy, borderless access to vast volumes of abhorrent images.”
The images are shared around the world, making investigations increasingly complex, he said.