The Illinois Attorney General is working with law enforcement in an effort to combat increasing online child exploitation.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul along with Acting U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois Douglas J. Quivey, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly, and Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright, today announced initiatives the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is utilizing to protect children from online predators.
Raoul announced the ICAC Task Force, managed by the Attorney General’s office, will offer a series of webinars to help families ensure children are safe online. In addition, Raoul unveiled a new mobile forensic unit that will provide critical support to law enforcement conducting child pornography investigations in communities throughout the state.
Raoul says that reports of child pornography and child exploitation have increased over the last several years, and that trend does not show signs of stopping.
The Attorney General’s office, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, runs the ICAC Task Force that investigates child sexual exploitation crimes, trains law enforcement agencies, and provides online safety education to children and adults.
The task force receives CyberTips, or online reports of child pornography, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Raoul says over the last several years, CyberTipline reports have steadily increased, and his office projects that reports to the ICAC during 2021 will increase by 23% over 2020. According to the Attorney General’s office, the trend is in part due to increased reporting and awareness by social media platforms and apps.
Attorney General Raoul is encouraging parents, guardians, and educators to participate in a series of free online training sessions hosted by the Attorney General’s office that will provide information to help children develop healthy internet habits.
The online safety webinars will teach parents about the apps children and teens may be using; how to help youth navigate aggressive online behavior, both as a victim and perpetrator; how to help children foster healthy online interactions; and how to identify signs that a child or student may have been a victim of online child solicitation.
The series will begin on October 7th, and webinars will take place at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. Interested parties should email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.