Winnipeg, Canada — The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is calling attention to the alarming increase in the online victimization of children reflected in today’s release of Statistics Canada’s police‑reported crime data.
The 2020 statistics, which includes the first nine months of the COVID‑19 pandemic, paints a disturbing picture of trends in violence against children. Notably, when compared to the previous five‑year average, the new data reveals:
These police‑reported figures mirror the distressing patterns observed by Cybertip.ca, Canada’s tipline to report online child sexual abuse and exploitation, which is operated by C3P.
During the first two weeks of the pandemic, reports to Cybertip.ca — which included children receiving sexual messages or images/videos from adults online, being coerced into sending sexual images/videos or engaging in sexual activity, or having sexual images/videos of themselves shared online — increased by 40 per cent. By the end of the 2020 fiscal year, that figure rose to 106 per cent.
“As COVID‑19 gripped the country, families found themselves at home, facing virtual classrooms, unrestricted online access, and with it all, increased risk to children. Without question, it is the most vulnerable members of our communities who have been disproportionately harmed by the abrupt change in their social environments imposed by the pandemic,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of C3P.
During 2020, the tipline issued a Cybertip.ca Alert based on the discussions analysts were seeing on the dark web amongst child sex offenders, who saw this as an unprecedented time to mobilize and share strategies for targeting and abusing children.
“Anytime children are able to intersect with adults on a platform or service, there is inherently a greater risk of abuse. While we continue to demand that technology companies vastly improve the safety of their services, it’s important that parents be aware of these risks,” says McDonald.
Remember, there’s no amount of online filters or safety controls that can replace parental supervision and communication.
Visit protectkidsonline.ca for more information on kids’ online interests, the potential risks, and points to help parents talk about online safety with kids no matter what their age.Media relations contact:
About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety of all children. The organization’s goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children through programs, services, and resources for Canadian families, educators, child‑serving organizations, law enforcement, and other parties. C3P also operates Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tipline to report child sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet, and Project Arachnid, a web platform designed to detect known images of CSAM on the clear and dark web and issue removal notices to industry.