The integrated approach to tackling online child sexual abuse is a key objective for me; such abuse is disgraceful and one of the most devastating types of crime. Perpetrators of child sexual abuse cause enormous harm to the lives of children and those close to them. Offering and downloading online visual material leads to repeat victimisation, a new range of material and abuse. My aim, from the start of this government’s term of office, has been to break this spiral; victims deserve no less. The growing number of reports to the police and the Hotline against child sexual abuse material on the Internet operated by Dutch Expertise Bureau for Online Child Abuse (EOKM) underlines the urgency.
A solution cannot come from the government alone. This is a social problem that must also be dealt with by society. The Netherlands has one of the world’s largest Internet hubs and an expansive infrastructure. This confers a particular responsibility on the Dutch government and the business sector to curb the abuse of Internet freedoms. Tackling child sexual abuse is therefore not only a task of our specialised police teams. It must become self-evident that we, through activism, in the public and private sectors, collectively feel responsible for combating it. I have therefore organised meetings with major Internet companies, visited the police services and commissioned research.
The fight against online child sexual abuse is an international task, which necessitates cooperation among countries. The approach in the Netherlands, for example, could have consequences for other countries, due to content or companies shifting abroad. For this reason, where possible, I place tackling online child sexual abuse in Europe on the agenda. Our contacts with officials in Brussels have been intensified and I will be talking to my European colleagues about this topic in the autumn.
In this letter, I wish to inform you of the new steps and important decisions I have taken to further tackle online child sexual abuse. The first part discusses three projects that merit special attention: enforcement under administrative law, the HashCheck server and tackling downloaders. The second part provides information on progress on other current projects. I am providing information on the public-private activities also on behalf of the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
To read the complete progress letter, click here.