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INHOPE Member’s General Assembly and Joint Law Enforcement and INHOPE Conference on Prevention and Awareness

June 15, 2015

INHOPE’s Annual General Assembly met on June 4th 2015 at EUROPL’s HQ in The Hague, the Netherlands. INHOPE’s meetings around the AGM were planned to coincide with Europol’s Annual Experts Meeting on combatting Child Sexual Exploitation, to provide another opportunity for INHOPE hotlines and law enforcement to strengthen relationships, share best practice and look at how to best engage and collaborate through a multi-stakeholder approach in the area of CSAM, at technological, practical, awareness-raising, preventative and policy levels. This joint event, focusing on the theme of Prevention and Awareness, marked the second time INHOPE and Europol have collaborated successfully. 

Joint Law Enforcement and INHOPE Conference on Prevention and Awareness 

Europol’s EC3 and INHOPE brought together over 130 experts from close to 50 countries to discuss joint cooperation in combating online child sexual exploitation. High on the agenda was a need for proactive multi-stakeholder strategy and action to prevent child sexual abuse. The day’s discussions over the variety of meetings that took place underlined the need for: 

  • A multi stakeholder approach in order to fight the global problem of child sexual exploitation; 
  • Robust and standard legislation nationally and across borders; 
  • Appropriate financial resourcing for additional police training and manpower; 
  • Appropriate professional preparation and training for Magistrates, Judges and Prosecutors; 
  • Continuous cooperation and communication between law enforcement and other stakeholders in all facets of fighting child sexual exploitation; 
  • Hotlines and police to have the legislation, means and mechanisms in place to together ensure police receive only illegal content that they need to investigate, to assure rapid notice and takedown (without interfering with ongoing investigations) and ensure victim rescue at the earliest opportunity; 
  • The continuous development of human capacity, technical resources and appropriate mechanisms to follow and respond to emerging threats; 
  • A victim and child-centred-focused approach where it is lacking (in this area of crime); 
  • Closer cooperation between Law enforcement,  hotlines and  Prevention professionals to become more aware of the importance of Preventive approaches to deal with child sexual exploitation  instead of only relying on reactive measures; 
  • Research, awareness-raising, prevention strategies and communication to start at a younger age

Keynote speech 

Ernie Allen delivered a powerful opening speech that explored the explosion of online child sexual abuse material and focused on the need for greater multi-stakeholder cooperation. Click on the link for Advisory Board Member Jacqueline Beauchere’s Microsoft blog on Ernie Allen’s speech: http://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2015/06/11/expert-public-and-policymakers-need-to-pay-more-attention-to-child-abuse-online/  



Champion for Children award: 

This meeting marked the first time that the organisation has offered INHOPE’s Champion for Children Award. Ernie Allen was presented with this Award for his outstanding dedication to the rescue, safety and prevention of sexual crimes against children in the digital age. While this was the first year INHOPE bestowed this award, we would like to continue the tradition each year. 

Meeting on the status of hotlines in Italy and Belgium 

INHOPE coordinated an additional side meeting for the Italian hotline Telefono Azzurro and the Belgian hotline Child Focus to look at how they could more effectively and efficiently support and work with police including contributing their reports to IHRMS for faster investigation, victim recovery and notice and takedown. Save the Children Italy also attended the meeting and made the point that while they are willing to explore options other than the status quo for how the Italian hotlines work with the police, they are also aware that the situation is complex and that the change needs to be driven by decision-makers and the police in Italy.

While there are political and practical challenges, both Italy and Belgium are obliged to implement notice and takedown as per Article 25 of the EC Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, (and replacing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA). 

Following this meeting, participants and the EC representatives present agreed to find out where in the transposition process Italy and Belgium were with regard to Article 25 of the Directive, to ensure they were compliant. Both Child Focus and Telefono Azzurro had high level meetings scheduled for the weeks following the meeting, to discuss the best approach for the hotlines to support the police, ensure rapid notice and takedown without disrupting ongoing and new investigations and be more active members of the global INHOPE network. 

As INHOPE is committed to all its hotlines being able to become active members in the INHOPE network, The side meeting we convened successfully addressed these issues and was a useful occasion to exchange views and discuss how these countries should move forward on this issue. 

Annual General Assembly 

  • INHOPE is delighted to welcome ECPAT Sweden and netSafe New Zealand, both of whom have transitioned from provisional Association membership to full Association membership.
  • A new membership application was received from the Czech Republic (NCBI.cz) and the INHOPE Membership voted that this hotline is admitted as provisional members of the Association.
  • INHOPE Foundation welcomed Peru as a Foundation Participant. 

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Let’s all practice zero tolerance to child sexual abuse imagery. One report can make a difference. To the digital citizens out there, if you stumble across anything you suspect to be a child sexual abuse image or video, do the right thing, report it and once confirmed, with our industry and law enforcement partners, we will make sure such content is taken down as quickly and effectively as possible.

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