Communique of the WeProtect Global Alliance Summit 2022: Turning the Tide on Child Sexual Abuse Online

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WeProtect Global Alliance – Media, Summit announcement

June 2, 2022

WE, the delegates of the Global Summit to Turn the Tide on Child Sexual Abuse Online, held at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium on 1-2 June 2022:

Recognise that child sexual abuse and exploitation online remains a growing global threat, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic;

Note that progress continues to be made , with new legislation to regulate the digital space, improved online safety technologies and justice sector responses and increased advocacy and influence by survivors of abuse; and are

Convinced that there is a gross mismatch between the magnitude and severity of the problem and the resources invested to tackle child sexual abuse online both from industry and governments. We must fix the resource mismatch and build capacity to prevent and respond to this threat across the globe. 

Ending child sexual abuse and exploitation online will require greater collaboration and investment across all the constituencies represented in WeProtect Global Alliance, drawing on the Model National Response and Global Strategic Response frameworks, as evidenced in the UNICEF and WeProtect Global Alliance Framing the Future report. 

We therefore COMMIT ourselves to: 

  1.  Accelerating global cooperation and innovation to prevent and address child sexual abuse online, focusing on:
    1. Increasing collaboration to address jurisdictional challenges in investigating and prosecuting online child sexual exploitation and abuse as countries pursue global alignment on legislation, classifying child sexual abuse materials, and data and intelligence sharing standards.
    2. Working to fill gaps in evidence and understanding of what works to prevent and respond to child sexual exploitation and abuse in line with the Model National Response, including continued monitoring and research to support continuous improvement and better use of technology across all capabilities.
    3. Promotion and global implementation of the Model National Response and Global Strategic Response frameworks by all constituencies represented in the Alliance, and their continuous refinement based on lessons learned and feedback from our membership.
  1. Stepping up national prevention and response to child sexual abuse and exploitation online, focusing on:
    1. Investment in law enforcement and prosecutorial services to ensure those responsible for crimes against children are sufficiently resourced to deal with sexual offences, including those facilitated by technology, and receive systematic training and capacity building to stay ahead of new and emerging harms and prosecute sexual offences involving digital evidence in a survivor-centred and child-sensitive manner that secures justice while minimising re-traumatisation.
    2. Expanding the reach of quality case management and multidisciplinary models to ensure they are available and accessible for all victims and survivors that require them.
    3. Continued systematic training and capacity building for the child protection workforce so they have the expertise to identify and support children at risk or children that have experienced abuse, accessible support and guidance for parents, families, carers, professionals that work with children and the wider community on how to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse, including forms facilitated by technology, and capacity development and public funding for child helplines.
    4. Improving cooperation between hotlines, law enforcement, and the technology industry to ensure optimal efficiency and better outcomes for children and survivors.
    5. Investment and implementation of tools and policies to enable timely and proactive detection, prevention, and disruption of child sexual abuse and exploitation on private sector online platforms and services.
    6. Developing effective measures to ensure media reporting is supportive of children and survivors’ dignity, privacy, and protection.

All members of WeProtect Global Alliance also commit to:  

  • Use their resources, networks and influence to drive forward the collective global response to child sexual exploitation and abuse online
  • Identify and progress their role in implementing the Model National Response and Global Strategic Response frameworks as part of their strategies and action plans to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse online.
  • Contribute to Global Threat Assessments and other knowledge gathering exercises to share their progress at least once every two years.
  • Provide information to the Alliance on progress and activities on implementing the commitments on a biennial basis.
  • Ensure genuine participation of victims/survivors and children during the development of policy, programme, tools and/or legislation.
  • Sign and ratify the Council of Europe Lanzarote Convention [for government members] or implement similar legislation. 

The establishment of a Global Taskforce of governments

The European Union, African Union and seventeen governments from around the world have joined forces with WeProtect Global Alliance to establish a new Global Taskforce on Child Sexual Abuse Online.

The Global Taskforce, which is the first of its kind, will:

  • Develop and drive a global coordinated response to child sexual abuse online;
  • Secure engagement at national, regional and global levels;
  • Showcase progress and champion best / emerging practice;
  • Influence and contribute to key WeProtect Global Alliance products and membership commitments.

Governments around the world continue to draft new legislation to child sexual exploitation and abuse online and other forms of online abuse. The different laws and proposals include varying approaches to regulation and reflect different regional contexts. This new Global Taskforce of governments could help to identify gaps and opportunities in legislative frameworks and facilitate the collaboration needed to close loopholes and ensure there are no safe havens for the facilitation or hosting of child sexual abuse online. 

The Taskforce will work alongside the Alliance’s other reference groups for private sector, civil society and law enforcement members to develop a transnational, cross-sector coordinated response to child sexual abuse online. It will also create a mechanism for existing international government initiatives working on this issue, such as the Five Country Ministerial, European Union, African Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the G7, to feed into the strategic direction of WeProtect Global Alliance. 

Taskforce membership

The founding members of the Global Taskforce are:

  • European Union (Chair)
  • African Union (Vice Chair)
  • Australia 
  • Belgium
  • Brazil 
  • Cambodia 
  • Canada 
  • England and Wales
  • Finland 
  • Ghana 
  • Guatemala 
  • Republic of Moldova
  • The Netherlands 
  • New Zealand 
  • North Macedonia
  • The Philippines 
  • Sweden
  • The United Arab Emirates 
  • The United States of America

Membership of the Global Taskforce will be open to any WeProtect Global Alliance government member, of which there are currently 99. Meetings will take place at least twice per year; the inaugural meeting is expected to take place in October 2022.