WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Senate just passed a bill to prioritize the rescue of children who are sexually abused and exploited online. The Project Safe Childhood Act, led by Sens. John Cornyn, Amy Klobuchar, Chuck Grassley, Marsha Blackburn, Lindsey Graham, Richard Blumenthal, and Chris Murphy, will provide law enforcement and prosecutors with the necessary resources and tools to effectively investigate cases of online sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
In 2020, for the first time ever, over half of those accessing the RAINN National Sexual Assault online hotline were children, and this has consistently been the case since. RAINN has been and will continue to be dedicated to working with members of Congress, leading coalition efforts, and educating the public and those in power about these issues to ensure that bills such as the Project Safe Childhood Act become law.
“Law enforcement is inundated with reports of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and online child sexual abuse and exploitation,” said Samantha Cadet, RAINN director of federal affairs, appropriations, and national coalitions. “The Project Safe Childhood Act is an incredible step forward in ensuring that law enforcement is given the resources to effectively address these cases and rescue children seen in these illicit materials.”
In 2022, the CyberTipline received 32 million reports with over 88.3 million files of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM). In addition, in 2021 Department of Justice-funded undercover systems detected more than 325,000 unique IP addresses distributing CSAM. However, due to a lack of resources and guidance less than 1% of all leads identified in undercover databases are currently under investigation.
The Project Safe Childhood Act will require the U.S. Attorney General to develop and disseminate best practices for the prioritization of cases involving online child sexual exploitation. The bill will also fund an additional 20 federal prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to these cases.
“The Project Safe Childhood Act is a critical piece of legislation that RAINN has worked hard to move forward,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN founder and president. “Passing in the Senate is a milestone—and now we call on the House and its newly-appointed speaker to do their part to protect children and provide the tools we need to prosecute and eradicate child sexual abuse material.”
RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, founded by president Scott Berkowitz in 1994, operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, help organizations improve their sexual assault prevention and response programs, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, free, confidential help is available 24/7 by calling 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visiting online.RAINN.org.