April 14. 2024. 7:32

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UK government to implement measures to tackle child sexual abuse

People who work with children will now be legally required to report any history of child sexual abuse or will face sanctions according to new measures announced by Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

The move was recommended last year by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) – an inquiry examining how the country’s institutions handled their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse. According to the report, around 7,000 victims provided testimonies.

“The length of time taken to investigate and prosecute child sexual abuse cases was, and remains, a matter of significant concern,” the report mentioned, adding that it recommended prosecutions for anyone working with children who failed to report indications of sexual abuse.

“The protection of children is a collective effort. Every adult must be supported to call out child sexual abuse without fear,” said Braverman, according to the Home Office’s press release.

On Sunday, the Conservative home secretary was in hot water for some comments she made when discussing a new grooming task force. Braverman singled out British Pakistani men over-grooming gang concerns, accusing authorities of turning a “blind eye” to signs of abuse over fears of being labelled “racist”, The Guardian reported.

The EU is also working on laws to tackle child sexual abuse further. In formal comments on a draft law seeking to fight child sexual abuse material (CSAM), EU countries highlighted end-to-end encryption, quick removals of such material, and preservation of evidence.

The proposal spurred controversy as it introduces the possibility for judicial authorities to issue detection orders targeting communication services providers considered at significant risk of disseminating child sexual abuse material (meaning services like WhatsApp or Gmail might be asked to implement AI-driven tools to automatically scan their platform and flag the suspected content to the relevant authority).

(Sofia Stuart Leeson | EURACTIV.com)