Mandatory Reporting Helping Curb Child Exploitation

By Sarah Klein

Since legislation was put into place making it mandatory for Manitobans to report suspected child pornography, child advocates say reports are up 126% over last year.

The data was released Tuesday by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, who says of the reported incidents in 2009, 17 contained information on an identified child victim or suspect in Manitoba.

“Reports to have helped in identifying child victims of sexual abuse as well as suspects in child sexual abuse cases,” said Lianna McDonald, the Centre’s executive director. “Manitobans play a significant role in protecting children from abuse and exploitation. The increase in reports made by Manitobans with regard to child pornography demonstrates that they’re taking their role seriously, and that mandatory reporting legislation can help to incite action on behalf of concerned citizens.”

To increase child sexual abuse education, the Teatree Tells program was created to help early educators and parents prevent child sexual abuse. With support from the provincial government, the Teatree Tells: A Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Kit is being sent free of charge to 700 child care centres across the province. The kit includes important information to help those working with children four to six years of age as well as parents learn the facts about child sexual abuse in order to understand the risks and to recognize the signs. The kit also identifies strategies to deal with disclosures of sexual abuse.

— With files from a news release