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Project Safe Childhood

Project Safe Childhood

Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide Department of Justice initiative that began in 2006 to reduce the number of children who are victims of child sexual exploitation.  Project Safe Childhood was initially designed to protect children from online or technology facilitated exploitation and abuse.  The program was expanded in 2011 to include all federal child sexual exploitation offenses.  The goals of Project Safe Childhood include collaborating with federal, state, and local partners to most effectively combat the threat of child sexual exploitation by maximizing investigations and prosecutions and maximizing the resources available to identify and help victims of these horrific crimes.  The program also supports training law enforcement officers to enhance investigations of these often complex cases as well as educating the public about Internet safety.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia is committed to the protection of our children.  Advances in technology continue to bring about new obstacles for parents, educators, and law enforcement, and there is a true generation gap in the knowledge our children and we have about emerging technologies.  No longer are children safe in their own homes. The expanding virtual environment means that children may become victims without even leaving the safety of their homes (and schools).  Studies have shown that one in five children per year receives an unwanted sexual solicitation online and at any given time, 50,000 predators are on the Internet actively seeking out children.

Our office works with federal, state, and local investigators to ferret out and prosecute those individuals who seek to exploit our children.  We have successfully tracked down and prosecuted many such offenders and will continue to do so across the Western District of Virginia.  However, we need the help of parents, teachers, and other community leaders to help reduce the chance that our children will become victims of child exploitation and to report suspected crimes.    

Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Swartz is the Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for our office.  Besides prosecuting child sexual exploitation cases, she is available for Internet safety presentations for school groups, parents, and other community groups.   Her office is located in our Charlottesville Division and she may be reached at (434) 293-4283.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit:

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)

Department of Justice Internet safety, security, and responsibility resource – provides many useful links
Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section

National Internet safety resource and education program of NCMEC and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, targeting children K-12
NetSmartz Workshop

National Internet literacy resource
Safe Kids

National Internet literacy resource
Safe Teens

Virginia Department of Education School and Student Internet Safety

National Internet literacy resource

National Internet literacy resource

Updated July 6, 2023