Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Internet Safety Awareness Campaign

The City Attorney Office announced earlier today with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, the kick off the City of Los Angeles’ Child Abuse and Internet Safety Awareness PSA Campaign. The campaign is designed to raise awareness, prevent child sexual exploitation, and promote Internet safety.

In Los Angeles County alone, the number of child abuse reports has soared to more than 160,000 annually. Studies show that children who experience abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, and childhood abuse and neglect increase the likelihood of adult criminal behavior by 28% and violent crime by 30%. More than 68% of adult male felons were victims of child abuse and neglect before the age of 12, with 64.5% experiencing physical abuse.

Research indicates that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before they reach adulthood. Also, according to the latest online victimization research, about 1 in 7 youth online (10 to 17 years-old) received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet.

The new PSA campaign hopes to combat these often unrecognized and underreported issues, by increasing the visibility of available resources. The City Attorney’s Office will begin distributing five posters created by NCMEC and city prosecutors will distribute these poster-size flyers to various community organizations, libraries, community centers and schools so that they can be seen by parents and members of the community throughout LA County.

Through this campaign, the City Attorney’s Office hopes to convey three main messages:

  • Child sexual exploitation is a major problem.
  • If you suspect child abuse or child sexual exploitation, report it to law enforcement.
  • After you have reported the exploitation to law enforcement, it is very important to notify the NCMEC.

The NCMEC encourages the public to access prevention information and report these crimes against children through NCMEC's Hotline (1-800-843-5678) or online at www.cybertipline.com.

You can also visit the City Attorney's Child Abuse Policy Division for information and updates on the work of the City Attorney's Office on behalf of children.