A new website launched by the Ontario Provincial Police aims to help young victims who are being exploited by sexual images of them online.
Det.-Sgt- Terry Paddon with the OPP Child Sexual Exploitation Unit said his unit has received no less than 20 reports of consensual or non-consensual distribution of these images since the beginning of the school year.
“Our number one concern is the safety of the victims involved," Paddon told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway on Monday. “A lot of these images are considered child pornography or we certainly make endeavours to determine if they are child pornography.”
The new website NeedHelpNow.ca is not a portal to report potential offenders but contains information that victims can refer to if they believe they've been victimized.
“It’s information and an online guide to help individuals that have found themselves in a situation,” Paddon said.
The website includes “suggestions on how images can be removed from the internet" and who to contact to report the incident.
“In a relatively short, relatively small site, there’s a lot of great information contained within," he said.
In investigating complaints about sexual images posted with or without consent, the OPP works to remove them from the internet, but many resurface years after they’ve first been shared.
“I can’t stress enough, simply don’t hit send is the issue,” Paddon said.