Charges for people who post abused children on social media

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The Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) says it will take steps to file charges against people who post abused children on social media, revealing their faces, names and address or any information which may lead to the identity of the child.

Director of the agency, Ann Greene, told the News Room that there is a right way to report abuse against children and people need to adhere to this. Greene said that charges will be placed in accordance with the Childcare and Protection Agency Act 2009.

“Any matter involving children, you cannot put the picture up there or name the parent or post that the child is being abused, all of that is against the act, it is in contravention of the laws; it should not occur but I am in discussions with my legal counsel and we going to bring some charges because this is putting children at extreme risk.

“You just cannot, you cannot help children or help the family by parading the information or story on social media and then you say you are doing good and helping families,” the Childcare Director strongly pointed out.

Citing Section 10 (2) (a) of the Act, the Director stated: “It is clear in the laws that we can take action; ‘the name of the child or any information from which the identity of the child may be inferred’ you cannot say that, so it is a serious breach of the Child Protection laws.”

According to Greene, when persons post the abuse of a child on social media, it also affects the police’s investigation.

“Police often say a lot of those things affect the case because the perpetrators move [escapes]. It seriously damages the case,” the Childcare Director said.

But there are also other challenges the agency faces such as when the matter is taken to the court.

“There are challenges with speedy, quick responses through the court system, like getting the investigation finished and passed through the court system; that too is a challenge for us.”

Greene noted that in order for a child to be protected fully, all of the agencies and systems must work hand-in-hand and often times, this does not happen.

“We have a role to play and it must work, the police have a role to play, their system must work, the health sector, their system must work, education system must work.

“There are times when all systems are not working and this has been challenging,” the Director stressed.

To counter this challenge, however, the Director is recommending the establishment of a ‘Quick Response team’ that will respond to reports of child abuse.

The team would include a police officer, a childcare officer, a healthcare officer and any other relevant personnel.

“We need a quick response team, like a special victim’s unit.

“I am still hoping that we can get that system, it’s a system I have been canvasing for a while; like we would have a group here with police, social workers, a response group,” the Director explained.

Further recommendations include bringing charges against perpetrators in police custody within the 72 hours hold.

“For us, the 72 hours mean you must bring the charges in 72 hours, so let us get all the things we need to get, the forensic interview, the medical…everything in 72 hours, so that person can be charged,” the Director posited.

She said often times, the perpetrator walks away from the case or “even walks away from the country, so there are a lot of children in care and we are waiting to get justice for them but it is the system.”

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