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Training to Protect Children from Internet Crimes

April 19, 2012
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole Speaks at the National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation  The following post appears courtesy of Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary of the Office of Justice Programs Training investigators, prosecutors and law enforcement across America to keep our children safe is a critical part of our work at the Office of Justice Programs.  At our 2012 National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation this week, we bring together practitioners to address internet crimes against children—including law enforcement, prosecutors, forensic examiners, victim witness specialists, members from our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces—to learn about cutting-edge technology to stop internet crimes against children.  As the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, I have the honor of overseeing the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program. The program helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop task forces to effectively respond to cyber enticement and child pornography cases.   These task forces recently arrested the 31,000th person suspected of committing a crime of child sexual exploitation.  We have been successful, but we cannot yet declare victory over these devastating crimes. Tomorrow’s technology will enable future crimes in ways we that are difficult to anticipate.  A few years ago, we had no idea that cell phones, with texting and internet surfing capabilities, would be in the hands of so many children. We didn’t know that electronic storage devices full of thousands of images and hours of video would become so tiny and inexpensive.  We certainly didn’t know that video gaming would move from the family room to the Internet.  And we don’t know what’s next. Cutting-edge training is a vital tool in our fight against child exploitation so we can stay ahead of – or at least keep up with –advances in technology.   We in the Justice Department know that funds for training and technical assistance are a sound investment—in fact, they are some of the best spent federal dollars for getting results effectively and efficiently.   Similarly, we can make no better investment than in our nation's children.  The Attorney General’s signature program, the Defending Childhood Initiative, was launched in 2010 to address a national crisis: the exposure of America’s children to violence as victims and as witnesses.   Research tells us children’s exposure to violence is often associated with long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm, and that children exposed to violence are at a higher risk of engaging in criminal behavior later in life.  The explosion of new technologies these days requires that we expand our knowledge and skills in order to stop these new kinds of crimes and bring the criminals to justice.  Our communities rely on law enforcement to assist them in their times of need -- and we are never more in need than when our children are in trouble. View the conference materials.

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Updated April 7, 2017