Scale of threat to children - Crackdown on abuse networks

A Garda raid on a home or business is just that— no more, no less. It implies no more than suspicion, and judgement of any kind cannot be reached until court proceedings conclude (if there are any.)

Despite that innocent-until-proven-otherwise caveat, it does seem startling that gardaí felt it necessary to raid 31 homes across 12 counties as part of an investigation into the possession and distribution of child abuse images.

When the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandals started to come to light two decades ago, the initial reaction was a combination of anger and disbelief.

As a fuller, a more harrowing, picture emerged, that anger was exacerbated by the scale of the evil; hardly a religious order or a diocese was not implicated.

We had to accept that child abuse was commonplace and widespread.

Could it be that we, similarly, underestimate the number of people involved in the distribution of child abuse images today?

That is indeed a sobering proposition. That the operation was led by the Online Child Exploitation Unit and the Garda National Protection Services Bureau, and involved agencies from Canada, America, and several other countries, is another indication of the scale of the problem.

This situation demands many responses, but one of the most urgent must be the assertion of authority over the communications networks that facilitate these evil exchanges.

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