News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

April 15, 2009

NEW LAW OBLIGES ALL MANITOBANS TO REPORT CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

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Public Awareness Campaign Launched by Province: Mackintosh

Manitoba is the first province to enact legislation that makes it mandatory to report child pornography, Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.
 
“Child pornography is child abuse,” said Mackintosh.  “In any of its forms, it is an affront to humanity. Any delay in reporting child pornography gives a green light to those who take pleasure from the rape of children.”
 
The legislation amends the Child and Family Services Act to include child pornography in the existing definition of child abuse.  A person who suspects child pornography, including online content, books, photographs and other audio and visual material, must promptly report the information.
 
Child pornography can be reported online at www.cybertip.ca or by calling a 24-hour hotline operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (1-866-658-9022).  If any reports involve children or suspects from Manitoba, child and family services agencies in the province will investigate to ensure children are protected from further abuse.
 
Data collected by Cybertip.ca reveals that more than 80 per cent of confirmed child pornography websites analyzed by the organization contain images of children younger than eight and 33 per cent of the images capture sexual assaults against the child victims.
 
“These statistics underscore the prevalence of the crime and the very young age of the victims being sexually harmed,” said Lianna McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.  “The first step in creating these images begins with the sexual abuse of children in homes and bedrooms within our own communities.  We are confident that this new mandatory reporting law will help reduce the growing number of child victims and the number of images being uploaded to the Internet.”
 
The legislation includes the following new measures:
·         the definition of child pornography in the Child and Family Services Act mirrors the definition in the Criminal Code;
·         no person will be required or authorized to seek out child pornography;
·         an informant’s identity will be kept confidential except as required in judicial proceedings or by consent;
·         it is illegal to retaliate against an informant;
·         police will have to advise an employer when an employee having access to children in the workplace is charged with a related offence;
·         Cybertip.ca will report annually to the legislature on its actions under the bill; and
·         penalties for violating the provisions of the act include a maximum fine of $50,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than 24 months.
 
Following the launching of Tracia’s Trust in December 2008, this is another key element of the province’s $2.4-million sexual exploitation strategy, Mackintosh said.
 
“Child pornography is not adult entertainment, nor is it a victimless crime. Every time someone downloads photos or passes on child pornography, they are perpetuating sexual assault, molestation and rape.”
 
In an effort to protect children from the abuse of child pornography, the Government of Manitoba will provide $190,000 to Cybertip.ca.  This funding will allow Cybertip.ca to develop the infrastructure needed to support mandatory reporting, as well as assist with public education, said Mackintosh.
 
To help raise awareness of the duty of Manitobans to report, a multimedia campaign reminding Manitobans that “child pornography doesn’t report itself” and “child pornography is child abuse” is now being launched.
 
Since its launch, Cybertip.ca has received close to 35,000 reports resulting in thousands of websites being shut down, at least 45 arrests and the removal of children from abusive environments. 
 
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED


Backgrounder
Making The Connection - https://www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/newslinks/2009/april2009/ChildPorn.JS.doc