Ireland criticised for not yet adopting EU rules to combat child abuse and porn

Ireland is one of just eight countries yet to fully adopt EU rules on combatting child sex abuse and pornography, more than a year after the passing of a deadline.

The European Parliament urged countries to work together to combat the growing ‘darknet’ and help protect children, warning the latest horrific reports should serve as a wake-up call.

Justice Minister Francis Fitzgerald held a round-table meeting with the ICT industry, social media and the gardaí last month on tackling online child sexual exploitation.

She recently published heads of a new Criminal Law Sexual Offences Bill that would introduce wide-ranging reforms, including measures to protect children from sexual exploitation.

It will aim to protect young people against grooming in person and online. “The new offences also reflect the reality that predatory sexual activity to target children can now take place online, for example via social media,” she said.

However, Nathalie Griesbeck, one of the MEPs who worked on the report that came before the European Parliament, said it was a scandal so many member states had not fully brought the legislation into law.

“Online sexual abuse and child pornography are a monstrous, growing phenomenon and constitute serious violations of fundamental rights”, she said.

Her report said more than 80% of the victims are under ten, and 10% of victims of child sex abuse on the internet are under the age of two.

She said a comprehensive approach was needed with all concerned working together to combat the sexual exploitation of children, and child abuse images.


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