Hotlines gather at the INHOPE Annual General Assembly

INHOPE's Annual General Assembly met on 4 June 2015 at Europol's headquarters in the Hague, the Netherlands. INHOPE's meetings around the AGM were planned to coincide with Europol's Annual Expert's Meeting on combatting Child Sexual Exploitation, to provide another opportunity – because this meeting marked the second time INHOPE and Europol have collaborated successfully - for INHOPE hotlines and law enforcement to strengthen relationships, share best practice and look at how to best engage and collaborate through a multi-stakeholder approach in the area of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), at technological, practical, awareness-raising, preventative and policy levels.

For the day of joint meetings the theme was ‘Prevention and awareness'.

Joint Law Enforcement and INHOPE Conference on Prevention and Awareness

Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and INHOPE brought together over 130 experts from close to 50 countries to discuss joint cooperation in combating online child sexual exploitation. High on the agenda was a need for proactive multi-stakeholder strategy and action to prevent child sexual abuse.

The day's discussions, over a variety of meetings that took place, underlined the need for:

·       A multi-stakeholder approach.

·       Robust and standard legislation nationally and across borders.

·       Appropriate financial resourcing for additional police training and manpower.

·       Appropriate professional preparation and training for Magistrates, Judges and Prosecutors.

·       Continuous cooperation and communication between law enforcement and other stakeholders in all facets of fighting child sexual exploitation.

·       Hotlines and police to have the legislation, means and mechanisms in place to together ensure police receive only illegal content that they need to investigate, to assure rapid notice and takedown (without interfering with ongoing investigations) and ensure victim rescue at the earliest opportunity.

·       The ability to follow and respond to new threats;

·       A victim-focused approach where it is lacking (in this area of crime).

·       The newly-recognised need for law enforcement and hotlines to collaborate with prevention professionals to become more aware of prevention methods.

·       Research, awareness-raising and communication to start at a younger age.

Keynote speech

Ernie Allen delivered a powerful opening speech that explored the explosion of online child sexual abuse material and focused on the need for greater multi-stakeholder cooperation. Read a blog by Jacqueline Beauchere, INHOPE Board Member and Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft, on Ernie Allen's speech here.

Champion for Children Award

This meeting marked the first time that the organisation has offered INHOPE's Champion for Children Award. Ernie Allen was presented with this award for his outstanding dedication to the rescue, safety and prevention of sexual crimes against children in the digital age. While this was the first year INHOPE has bestowed this award, we hope to continue the tradition each year.

Meeting on the status of hotlines in Italy and Belgium

INHOPE coordinated an additional side meeting for Italian hotline Telefono Azzurro and Belgian hotline Child Focus to look at how they could more effectively and efficiently support and work with police in the way hotlines do in other countries, contributing their reports to IHRMS (INHOPE Reports Management Database) for faster investigation, victim recovery and notice and takedown. Save the Children Italy also attended the meeting and made the point that, while they are willing to explore options other than the status quo for how the Italian hotlines work with the police, they are also aware that the situation is complex and that the change needs to be driven by decision-makers and the police in Italy.

While there are political and practical challenges, both Italy and Belgium are obliged to implement notice and takedown as per Article 25 of the EC Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (and replacing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA).

Following this meeting, participants and the EC representatives present agreed to find out where in the transposition process Italy and Belgium were with regard to Article 25 of the Directive, to ensure they were compliant. Both Child Focus and Telefono Azzurro had high-level meetings scheduled for the weeks following the meeting, to discuss the best approach for the hotlines to support the police, ensure rapid notice and takedown without disrupting ongoing and new investigations, and be more active members of the global INHOPE network.

As INHOPE is committed to all its hotlines being able to become active members in the INHOPE network, the side meeting we convened addressed the issue very well and was a useful occasion to exchange views and discuss how these countries should move forward on this issue.

Annual General Assembly

News from the INHOPE General Assembly includes:

·       INHOPE is delighted to welcome ECPAT Sweden and NetSafe New Zealand, both of whom have transitioned from provisional Association membership to full Association membership.

·       A new membership application was received from the Czech Republic (NCBI.cz) and the INHOPE Membership voted that this hotline is admitted as provisional members of the Association.

·      INHOPE Foundation welcomed Peru as a Foundation Participant.

Visit the INHOPE website at www.inhope.org

References :
INHOPE: The International Association of Internet Hotlines

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