Awareness raising & Education of CSAM
The lack of public knowledge about the existence of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online is a huge problem. We cannot expect people to report something they do not understand, or even know exists. Therefore, the solution to eradicating CSAM online starts with education. Knowing that child sexual abuse material (CSAM) exists is the first step in getting it removed.
There are two ways to create public knowledge of CSAM. The first is to raise awareness of what CSAM is and the second is to develop and implement educational reforms.
The public needs to have access to educational material that improves their awareness of what CSAM is, as well as provides information about how to make a report to the national hotline. People are often prevented from reporting by the following obstacles:
- a lack of knowledge on what is illegal
- a lack of awareness on how to report
- a lack of trust in the fact their report will make a difference
- a lack of victim support.
A societal change in mindset about CSAM is necessary and national hotlines can be sources of awareness-raising campaigns for the public, as well as other NGOs and child protection organisations along with local educational authorities, government departments (Health and Education for example) and industry.
What is CSAM?
Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) has different legal definitions in different countries. The minimum defines CSAM as imagery or videos which show a person who is a child and engaged in or is depicted as being engaged in explicit sexual activity. Sometimes CSAM is incorrectly? referred to as child pornography by media outlets and in national legislation.
Why is CSAM illegal?
Any sexual activity with a minor constitutes child sexual abuse because a child cannot give consent to sex. This includes physical acts, whether through force, coercion, grooming, or implied force. This applies to sexual activity between an adult and a minor and might also include sexual activity between a significantly older and a younger child. Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is the permanent recording of these forms of sexual abuse or exploitation. This content depicts actual crime scenes and the production, distribution, and consumption of CSAM is illegal.
Where and how to report?
Find your countries hotline, you can do this directly or via our website. We connect you to 50 hotlines and 49 reporting portals. Providing you with the ability to report to almost 100 countries worldwide through one platform. After finding your country you are redirected to the appropriate hotline/organisation who will likely ask for the following information:
- Selecting the category to report - if you cannot see CSAM select the closest option
- Provide the URL where you believe you found CSAM - this is the most important information
- Provide any other details you can (if requested)
- Report anonymously - remember that reporting is important
- Delete the URL
- A hotline analyst will assess the material and if classified as illegal the Notice and Takedown process will be initiated
- DO NOT share this material or revisit the source of the material.
- Seek help if you felt sexual feelings from viewing the material here.
NGOs are especially key in helping raise awareness with children, parents, teachers and other stakeholders. As a society, we need to include this taboo topic in the educational curriculum, making it possible for open discussion. By following guidelines and using appropriate means to convey the severity of the topic we can promote open dialogue while providing much-needed resources.
What topics should you think about covering or updating?
- Educate children as well as parents/guardians on the forms of cybercrimes: grooming, sextortion, live streaming
- Increase knowledge of the impact of online child abuse and exploitation have on victims
- How children should protect themselves and what bad actors do
- Ensure they have the essential understanding of what, how and where to report
- Provide prevention resources (numerous countries have dedicated website contact points for individuals that have a sexual interest in children)
The prevalence of CSAM online is growing, and it is essential that we open up and continue this discussion. Understand your role and challenges faced in setting up a hotline in our next introductory seminar.
There are two ways to create public knowledge of CSAM. The first is to raise awareness of what CSAM is and the second is to develop and implement educational reforms.'