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Initiative aims to tackle child sex abuse

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Bermuda, along with a host of other Overseas Territories, is today launching an initiative aimed at tackling child sexual abuse.

Twelve territories are expected to roll out dedicated International Watch Foundation Reporting Portals, intended to allow web users to anonymously report images and videos of child sexual abuse.

The IWF initiative, made possible with the funding of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is intended to provide a quick and easy way for citizens who stumble across child pornography to report online images and videos to a safe and anonymous hotline. A team of experienced IWF analysts then work directly with internet companies and police to have any abusive imagery removed quickly.

A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said: “The advantage of establishing an IWF Reporting Portal is that any reports of suspected online child sexual abuse imagery generated in Bermuda will be assessed directly by one of IWF's analysts.

“These analysts are respected globally for their experience.”

In 2015 the IWF positively identified more than 68,000 reports of child sexual abuse images or videos, which it then helped take offline. From that figure, 69 per cent of the victims were assessed as ten years old or under and 1,788 victims were assessed as two or under. Just over one third were “category A” — the rape or sexual torture of children.

Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, said: “The protection of children is of critical concern to the Bermuda Police Service and it is to that end, Bermuda looks forward to partnering with the International Watch Foundation in the protection of our children from the exploitative nature of technology and the online environment.”

Harriet Lester, the IWF's technical projects officer working with the BPS, added: “The launch of the reporting portal in Bermuda is a huge step towards our mission to remove child abuse images and videos from the internet completely.”

Critical concern: Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, says protecting children is a priority for the Bermuda Police Service (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published June 01, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 01, 2016 at 8:34 am)

Initiative aims to tackle child sex abuse

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