April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month

UNITED STATES – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, and National Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Day was celebrated nationwide today, Monday April 2.

In 1998, the United States Department of Justice began an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force tasked with the growing problem of Internet-related exploitation of children.

The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program is a national initiative by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to prevent and/or identify the victimization & exploitation of children through the use of computers, computer technology, or the Internet, which is accomplished by developing an effective response using investigative & forensic components, training & technical assistance, and community education.

The Task Forces work to prevent, interdict, and investigate Internet crimes against children through a variety of methods. The ICAC Task Force laid the foundation for what would become a nationwide partnership of law enforcement agencies with the mission of protecting children online.

Currently there are 61 ICAC Task Forces located across the United States representing over 2,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies.  Since its inception, the ICAC Task Force program has investigated over 280,000 complaints of alleged child sexual exploitation and arrested almost 30,000 individuals.

In the Commonwealth, the year 2011 yielded approximately sixty arrests for various child sexual exploitation offenses. The 2011 graph below is broken down into two six month time frames showing the number of arrests, prosecutions, investigations and other law enforcement activity.

The Massachusetts State Police is the primary agency for the Massachusetts ICAC Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Unit Commander is currently Massachusetts State Police Sergeant Michael Hill.  The MSP has also assigned two Troopers to assist with the coordination, investigative components, technical assists, and community education associated with the Massachusetts ICAC Task Force’s objectives & goals.

Additionally, the MSP has six State Police Officers assigned to the Digital Evidence & Multimedia Section (DEMS) assisting with the computer forensic and technical assists associated with Internet Crimes Against Children.

The Massachusetts ICAC Task Force is further broken down into twelve (12) State Police Detective Units (SPDU) located in each District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts and the Attorney General’s Office in Massachusetts.  Troopers assigned to the SPDUs and AGs Office are members of the ICAC Task Force and investigate Internet crimes against children in their respective counties and/or statewide.  In addition, the ICAC Task Force has eighty-five (85) signed on affiliate and/or partnered agencies from local police departments, county sheriff departments, college police departments, state parole board, federal agencies, and private non-profit organizations state wide.

Between January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011, sixty arrests resulted in 31 prosecutions from 1,553 investigations and/or cybertips and 483 computer examinations.

Additional Massachusetts ICAC Task Force’s reported statistics during 2011 are as followed:

  1. Eighteen (18) new child victims were identified.

  2. 801 state subpoenas & court orders were obtained and 230 state search warrants were served.

  3. Thirty-six training sessions were provided to approximately 1463 law enforcement officers, 157 prosecutors, and 270 other professionals.

  4. 379 presentations, public events, and public awareness events regarding Internet safety, cyberbullying, and sexting were given.  These events were attended by approximately 28,374 children, parents, and other community members.

For more information regarding OJJDP ICAC Task Forces, please visit www.icactaskforce.org. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) interacts regularly with ICAC offices, providing assistance during investigations where the suspect has solicited young victims from throughout the United States and other countries.

The partnership between NCMEC and all ICAC Task Forces nationwide is essential to protecting society’s most innocent victims, children.  Anyone having information regarding online sexual exploitation of children should report this information to NCMEC via a CyberTip. For more information regarding NCMEC, please visit www.missingkids.com.

For Massachusetts law enforcement inquires please contact: Sergeant Michael Hill Commander of the Massachusetts State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (413) 499-1112 ext. 313.

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