McGuinty Government Funds Provincial Strategy To Protect Children From Internet Crimes



    Provincial Strategy Fights Sexual Abuse And Exploitation Of Children

    TORONTO, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government has invested $738,000 in
its coordinated two-year provincial strategy to fight Internet crimes against
children, Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter
and Attorney General Michael Bryant said today.
    "Ontario is already a world leader in providing Internet safety programs
for children, and we are committed to taking even more action with stronger,
more comprehensive and coordinated measures to safeguard this province's
children," Kwinter said. "Keeping children safe from Internet predators and
other online dangers is a key priority of the McGuinty government's fight
against crime."
    "We are using the most advanced technology and the best tools at our
disposal to conduct investigations and prosecution, to help keep our kids
safe," Bryant said. "By using a team approach, we can also offer effective
services that help child victims and their families recover, and protect them
from further victimization."
    Funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General's Victims' Justice Fund,
the provincial strategy is a unified team approach that involves the Ontario
Provincial Police (OPP), 18 municipal and regional police services, Crown
prosecutors, the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat and community victim
service providers. The strategy includes an undercover team of police officers
to conduct Internet child luring investigations and more support for child
victims and their families.
    This investment is the first of two instalments in the $5-million
strategy.
    In addition, as part of the strategy, the government has allocated
$20,000 to the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers to develop and operate a
dedicated child victims' tip line and referral service over the same two-year
period. Anyone who knows of children being victimized by child predators or
being lured on the Internet can call Crime Stoppers.
    "The exploitation of children by whatever means is appalling and
unconscionable," added Kwinter. "That is why the McGuinty government has been
working with the policing community including the OPP and the Ontario
Association of Chiefs of Police to develop a coordinated, provincewide
approach to stop offenders, protect our children, and help victims recover."
    "The OPP is a leader in the area of child pornography and electronic
investigations," Commissioner Julian Fantino said. "But the only way to
protect our children online is to make available to children and their parents
the knowledge and awareness of how to keep themselves safe. We're pleased to
be able to make a significant contribution in that regard."
    "There is no greater responsibility for law enforcement than the
protection of society's most vulnerable members," said Chief Bill Blair,
president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. "This funding helps
my officers in Toronto as well as officers across the province to support one
another in child exploitation investigations."
    This provincewide approach will help police services solve more Internet
crimes against children and apprehend offenders more quickly, reducing the
number of children who are victimized.

    
    Disponible en français

                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca
                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

        PROVINCIAL STRATEGY TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE AND
                         EXPLOITATION ON THE INTERNET

    The McGuinty government has provided the first of two instalments of a
$5-million investment over two years in a strategy to identify and help child
victims of Internet sexual abuse and exploitation. The provincial strategy is
funded through the Ministry of the Attorney General's Victims' Justice Fund.
    At the request of the Ontario government, the Ontario Provincial Police
(OPP) and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police developed a coordinated
provincewide approach to combat Internet crimes against children. The basis of
the provincial strategy is a unified team approach consisting of Crown
prosecutors, the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat, community victim service
providers, the OPP and municipal and regional police services including
Barrie, Brantford, Durham, Sudbury, Guelph, Halton, Hamilton, Kingston,
London, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Toronto,
Waterloo, Windsor and York.
    The $5-million provincial strategy includes:

        -  An undercover team of municipal police officers to conduct online
           child-luring investigations by monitoring chat rooms and
           newsgroups to identify suspects and victims, and prevent further
           victimization
        -  Assistance for child victims and families to offer emotional
           support, referral to appropriate community services and practical
           assistance
        -  Coordination, training and assistance for dedicated Crown
           prosecutors to ensure a uniform level of excellence with respect
           to victim support and prosecution of Internet child exploitation
           offences throughout the province
        -  Increased work with other agencies and jurisdictions, including
           other law enforcement agencies and organizations such as Child
           Find Ontario that will help to apprehend offenders and assist
           victims.

    In addition, as part of the strategy, the government has allocated $20,000
to the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers, over the same two-year period,
to develop and operate a dedicated child victims' tip line and referral
service. The association will also take calls from children who may have been
victimized and refer them to the appropriate agencies.
    The first of two instalments of this $5 million commitment is now being
made to municipal and regional police services.

    Contacts:
    Anthony Brown                            Brendan Crawley
    Ministry of Community Safety and         Ministry of the Attorney General
     Correctional Services                   Communications Branch
    Communications Branch                    416-326-2210
    416-314-7772

    Disponible en français

                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca
                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Annette Phillips, Ministry of Community Safety
and Correctional Services, Minister's Office, (416) 326-8265, (647) 205-6598
(cellular); Anthony Brown, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional
Services, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7772; Greg Crone,  Ministry of the
Attorney General, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Brendan Crawley, 
Ministry of the Attorney General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210

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Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

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Ontario Ministry of The Attorney General

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