The core theme of National Child Protection Week this year is that “Every child, in every community, needs a fair go” – and to treat all of Australia’s children fairly, with the focus of the week looking at the importance of the bigger picture in addressing child abuse and neglect. To ensure we support all families, we are sharing some important resources and information to support parents and carers across the community.
This week we are launching a new Public Service Announcement (PSA), the ‘Report It. Don’t Share It.’ campaign that aims to educate Australians about the harm caused by sharing images or videos of child abuse, and how people should report this kind of content to law enforcement and Facebook. Facebook has a zero tolerance for any behaviour that exploits children and uses sophisticated technology to proactively find and remove this content, and works with law enforcement, safety partners and NCMEC to prevent it from being shared further.
We released research earlier this year that estimates more than 75% of shares of child exploitation material did not exhibit malicious intent, but were reportedly shared for other reasons, such as to express anger or outrage or condemn it. To help educate Australians on the harm this is causing, we are running this education campaign with support from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the Australian eSafety Commissioner and NSW Police to prevent and eradicate the sharing of this type of content from their platforms. What our research highlighted is we need to do more to educate Australians on the harms they may be inadvertently causing when forwarding this type of material. This PSA will help people understand the best thing they can do if they receive this type of content is report it to the authorities and not forward it on.
The other way we are supporting families this week is to help parents access helpful information. Parenting is tricky enough, let alone having to navigate the changing nature of technology and in particular supporting our children to be safe online — especially when they are online even more during the pandemic. For this reason, we wanted to support parents by bringing together a panel of experts that work to support the wellbeing of young people — especially around their online interactions. I convened a conversation with Sonya Ryan, the Founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation, an organisation focussed on protection of children and ensuring their online experiences are positive and safe; Detective Chief Inspector Chris Goddard, the head of the Child Exploitation Internet Unit within the New South Wales Police Child Abuse & Sex Crimes Squad; and Jackie Hallan, the Head of Service Delivery at Reach Out, one of Australia’s leading mental health services for parents and young people. The discussion features a range of watch-outs, recommendations and resources for parents to navigate online spaces together with their children. This discussion will be broadcast on the Facebook Australia page on Tuesday 7 September at 8:00pm, AEST.
Preventing and eradicating online child sexual exploitation and abuse requires a cross-industry approach, and Facebook is committed to doing our part to protect children on and off our apps. We are taking a research-informed approach to develop effective solutions and tools that will disrupt the sharing of child exploitation material. We will continue to collaborate with our Australian and global industry safety partners and law enforcement to keep children safe on our services.
Facebook recommends anyone who receives or sees this type of content should immediately report it to Facebook so we can put in measures to prevent it from being shared further online. You can also report it to their local police station, or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, in which you can do so anonymously and for free.