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McGuinty Government And Police Join Forces To Go After Internet Predators And Child Pornographers

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McGuinty Government And Police Join Forces To Go After Internet Predators And Child Pornographers

Strategy To Tackle Online Child Pornography And Internet Luring

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO -- The McGuinty government and Ontario police services are keeping children safe through a strategy of protecting kids from Internet-based crimes and strengthening prosecution of those crimes, Attorney General Michael Bryant and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Monte Kwinter announced today.

"No matter where you live in Ontario, you will have the best expertise working together to keep our kids safe from Internet-based crimes," said Bryant. "We will give the police and prosecutors the tools they need to do their job in an effective, coordinated way."

The Province, working closely with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, is developing a coordinated and province-wide approach to combat Internet crimes against children such as child pornography and Internet luring. The OPP and OACP will construct an operational strategy to take aggressive action on Internet crimes against kids and report back to the government by the end of the year. The strategy will be put into action early next year, with funding up to $5 million.

"Rather than having each municipal police force develop different approaches to deal with child pornography and luring, we need a province-wide strategy," said Kwinter. "Research shows that 40 per cent of Canadian youth report that someone they met on the Internet has asked for personal information, and 41 per cent of those kids say they have provided such information. This underlines the need for strong and consistent protection to all children in our province."

As a part of the province-wide strategy, the government is taking steps to improve the prosecution of Internet-based crimes and to prevent these crimes through cyber-proofing our children.

Bryant announced that the Attorney General's Task Force on Internet Crimes against Kids - a special working group established in June and made up of crown prosecutors and police who work on child pornography and luring cases - has already begun developing policies, tools, best practices and training to improve the way these crimes are investigated and prosecuted.

Task force members are also working to improve cooperation between Internet service providers, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.

The McGuinty government is also working on a plan to cyber-proof our children. Minister of Children and Youth Services Marie Bountrogianni and Education Minister Gerard Kennedy are developing an anti-Internet luring strategy that will help kids understand Internet luring and give them the tools they need to protect themselves. Both ministers will have more details on this strategy - including getting software into schools to educate kids on Internet safety - before the end of the year.

"The distribution of child pornography is a borderless crime - every community in Ontario is affected," said OPP Commissioner Gwen Boniface. "The OPP is pleased to be involved in developing and supporting the provincial strategy and we are looking forward to partnering with others."

"Child pornography and related crimes such as Internet luring are a major threat to the safety of our children," said Chief Paul Hamelin, President of the OACP. "A provincial strategy that encourages collaboration between police services and addresses issues involving the funding, training and equipping of our officers who fight these criminal activities is critically needed to counter that threat."

"Today's announcement builds on the excellent work of the OPP's Project P and other municipal police services in investigating child pornography offences," said Bryant. "This is a very important issue to the McGuinty government and I look forward to working together with the police to protect our children," said Bryant.

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