PEI

Child exploitation cases up on P.E.I. during COVID-19, police say

RCMP on P.E.I. have seen an “alarming” increase in child exploitation cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

'It is very alarming obviously with people not going to school, people not going to work'

'It has been the busiest year since I've been in the child exploitation unit here on Prince Edward Island. I would equate it to somewhere between a 40 or 50 per cent increase from other years,' RCMP Cst. Shannon Hodder says. 5:59

RCMP on P.E.I. have seen an "alarming" increase in child exploitation cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

RCMP Const. Shannon Hodder, one of two officers with P.E.I.'s internet child exploitation unit, said he's seen a 40 or 50 per cent increase in cases this summer over past years, likely because people are home more due to COVID-19.

"It is very alarming obviously with people not going to school, people not going to work," he said.

"We see a lot of the non-consensual distribution of images as well, along with child luring but it is very evident that it is here on Prince Edward Island."

Second officer added

Hodder said the addition of Const. Tara Parsons to the unit last September has been a big help because he doesn't have to draw on resources from the Major Crime Unit, which takes them away from their own investigations.

He said it's important for parents to be engaged with their children's online activities, particularly their social media platforms.

"There's no harm in parents checking those applications they're using too for content or I guess how their children are using those applications."

More from CBC P.E.I.

now