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ISPCC welcomes Report of Special Rapporteur on Child Protection on risks to children online

Dec, 2017
The ISPCC has today welcomed the 10th Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr. Geoffrey Shannon. The national child protection charity has specifically endorsed the report’s recommendations in relation to child protection, digital safety and ‘Brexit’.
The report, now in its tenth year, sets out a range of recommendations to the state regarding child protection law and policy. This year, Dr. Shannon made recommendations in a number of key areas:

- That the Child and Family Agency needs to act with greater haste in its investigations into child abuse or in cases of child neglect and to review relevant policies with specific attention paid to the requirements of natural justice.
- That Ireland must ratify the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and so-called child pornography.
- That a new law should be introduced to create the offence of grooming children to commit crime.
- That the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 should be fully commenced as soon as possible to secure an effective response to sexual offending perpetrated by children.
- That the law on harassment should be amended to adequately account for information and technology advances.
- That the law should be strengthened to tackle so-called ‘revenge porn’ as per the Law Reform Commission Report in 2016.
- That steps are taken to establish an Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner.
ISPCC Chief Executive Grainia Long said: “The 10th Report of the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection is the longest one to date – reflecting a myriad of issues for children and young people and the ongoing maturity of the legal and policy framework for children in Ireland. Dr. Shannon recognises the significant change that the child protection system in Ireland has undergone in recent years, but states that, when viewed against international standards, further improvement is required.
“The report touches on a range of issues that are pertinent to the protection of children and I welcome in particular Dr. Shannon’s recommendations regarding the law on grooming children to commit crime, on jurisdiction in cases of grooming, child prostitution and trafficking. He rightly states that greater effort should be taken to ensure that traffickers are held accountable through convictions and lengthy sentences.
“The ISPCC has stated time and time again that digital safety is the child protection issue of our time. I am delighted that Dr. Shannon supports the proposed establishments of an Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner and I would urge government to act with speed to strengthen the law and regulation in this area, in the best interests of children.”