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McGuinty Government Works To Protect Children From Internet Crimes

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McGuinty Government Works To Protect Children From Internet Crimes

Province Teams With Federal, Provincial And Territorial Justice Partners

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO -- Ontario is working aggressively to protect children from Internet predators and pornography through a comprehensive provincewide plan that includes innovative new software to teach children about the dangers of the Internet, Attorney General Michael Bryant and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Monte Kwinter announced today at the annual federal-provincial-territorial justice ministers' conference.

"Our government is working with our justice partners across the country to combat crimes by those who prey on our children, by working with police and Crown attorneys to improve the way child pornography and Internet luring crimes are investigated and prosecuted," said Bryant. "We are also committed to working with our justice partners to bring about any changes necessary to effectively deal with these offenders. For example, we will be discussing the issue of sentencing, specifically conditional sentences, which may not be appropriate for those convicted of these despicable crimes."

Ontario demonstrated a new software package for schools, CYBERCOPS, to the delegates attending the meeting in Ottawa. The software is designed to educate Grade 7 and 8 students on the risks of using the Internet.

"This is part of our government's provincewide approach to combat Internet crimes against children," said Kwinter. "CYBERCOPS educates students about the techniques used by criminals on the Internet to entice and entrap children and youth into dangerous situations. Everyone - government, police, schools, parents and teachers - has a role to play and public education is key to our efforts to keep our children safe."

Ontario is collaborating and sharing best practices with its federal, provincial and territorial partners to tackle Internet crimes against children. The delegates from the other provinces and the federal government will also be updated on the Attorney General's Task Force on Internet Crimes Against Kids, which aims to provide the police and Crowns with tools to improve investigations and prosecutions of internet-based crimes. The task force is currently developing support material, such as a sentencing package, as well as best practices for disclosure, file management and expert witnesses. The task force is also working with the Internet service provider industry in order to find ways to improve cooperation between service providers, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.

The Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police are developing a comprehensive province-wide strategy to combat Internet luring and child pornography. The strategy will be aimed at protecting children no matter where they live in Ontario because the Internet is not limited by police services' jurisdictions. The new strategy is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

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