Dedicated Law Enforcement


  • Law enforcement capability with an explicit remit to lead, support and coordinate investigations into child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) – both online and offline. 
  • Its principle aim is to protect the public and it: Receives information – acts as a dedicated place where reports of CSEA can be received from international law enforcement, the public, industry (including via the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), and non-governmental organisations (including Hotlines).
  • Develops information – turns the reported information into actionable intelligence to enable an investigation to be undertaken.
  • Acts on intelligence – conducts investigations to safeguard and protect CSEA victims and apprehend offenders.
  • Law enforcement officers within this capability have the knowledge, skills, systems, tools and resources required to enable them to deliver the functions detailed above, leading to positive judicial outcomes.
  • Working through a multi-stakeholder approach, the law enforcement officers understand the role of the child protection workforce and non-governmental organisations in enhancing the support provided to victims during and after CSEA investigations. They involve child protection professionals in investigations to ensure that their work always remains victim-focussed and their investigations are undertaken using leading practice child protection principles.

Why is it needed?

  • A dedicated capability will ensure that a country’s law enforcement is able to respond effectively to reports of CSEA, securing an increased number of successful prosecutions, an increase in the number of victims protected and greater disruption of offending.
  • It will provide the public and third parties with the confidence to report CSEA, knowing that the information they provide will be acted upon effectively and that the victim will be treated appropriately and supported both during and after the investigation.
  • With dedicated law enforcement officers who have the required knowledge, skills, systems and tools, a country will be able to lead and coordinate complex CSEA investigations and liaise effectively with international law enforcement to progress investigations that cross borders.
  • A single point of contact within a national law enforcement agency will ensure that all reports of CSEA from the public and third parties are recorded, risk assessed and triaged in a consistent, coordinated, efficient and effective manner. 

Good practice

  • For countries that do not currently have a dedicated CSEA law enforcement capability in place, the national law enforcement agency should identify and commit to building this capability: this includes the identification of dedicated officers who will remain in post for a minimum period (suggested minimum of two years); the allocation of an appropriate venue to accommodate such resources; the acquisition of essential equipment; the provision of specialist CSEA training and techniques; psychological health and wellness support for officers; and the development and delivery of CSEA awareness-raising training for local law enforcement across the country. For countries that already have a dedicated CSEA law enforcement capability but still need to develop a multi-stakeholder approach, the inclusion of dedicated child protection professionals to work alongside investigators is a significant first step. Leading practice child protection principles for law enforcement should be followed at all times when planning and conducting a CSEA investigation; this will ensure the needs and rights of the child are always paramount.The multi-stakeholder approach will provide an enhanced level of protection and support for the victim and help achieve best evidence from the victim – increasing the likelihood of a successful prosecution. Sharing best practice across the region is also desirable.