Child sex images often show young children and home settings: Cybertip report
Child exploitation tipline says more needs to be done to identify and help victims
The majority of child pornography images and videos found online depict young children, and in many cases they're shown being sexually abused in a home setting, according to a new report by Cybertip.ca.
Cybertip, a national tipline operated by the Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection, analyzed 43,762 unique images and videos based on about 152,000 reports it has received between 2008 and 2015.
"We took a look at what was going on within those images — the age of the children, the severity of the abuse, the setting that the image appeared to be taken in, whether adults were visible in the imagery, that type of information," Cybertip director Signy Arnason told CBC News on Thursday.
The report said about 78 per cent of the analyzed images and videos depicted children who are believed to be younger than 12 years old, with 63 per cent of those images showing children under the age of eight.
The centre added that about 48 per cent of the images showed "explicit sexual activity and assaults" while almost 32 per cent depicted children posing nude or partially nude.
"It tells us that the offending community has very significant interest in young children, and child pornography is not about posing — it's about graphic sexual acts being perpetrated against children," Arnason said.
"This is what analysts are processing day in and day out in this country."
Centre officials say they're also worried that children face "another layer of trauma" when photos and videos of them being sexually abused are distributed on the internet.
Cybertip's report says 77 per cent of child sex abuse images and videos that have been analyzed since 2008 show the children's faces, meaning their faces were not concealed or blurred.
The majority of child pornography images and videos — about 69 per cent — "appeared to have been taken within a home setting," the report said.
Arnason said most of the children that appear in the images analyzed by Cybertip have not been identified, so more needs to be done to find out who those children are and where they are located, as well as stop those who make, post, share and collect child pornography.
She added that the centre will work with a group of international experts to survey the "first generation of children whose abuse images were traded online" to learn more about how they have been affected and what support they need.
"It feels like day in and day out, we're constantly staring at this significant crisis that I think we need other people to fully wrap their heads around and acknowledge is a serious and significant problem," Arnason said.
"Until we start to demand that more needs to be done in this space to protect kids, both offline and online, we're going to continue to face the over 3,000 reports a month we get from Canadians that deals with exactly what this report is talking about."
With files from the CBC's Alana Cole