2012-04-19 / News

ICAC Task Force raising child abuse awareness

In recognition of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Michigan Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is helping to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, particularly online sexual exploitation of children. The Michigan ICAC Task Force is part of a nationwide partnership of law enforcement agencies with the mission of protecting children online and holding offenders accountable.

In 1998, the United States Department of Justice began an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force to help address the growing problem of Internetrelated exploitation of children. Currently there are 61 ICAC Task Forces located across the United States representing over 2,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. Since its inception, the ICAC Task Force program has investigated over 280,000 complaints of alleged child sexual exploitation and arrested almost 30,000 individuals.

Some recent Michigan ICAC Task Force activity includes:

•The capture of a predator for using an unsuspecting family’s wireless access point to exploit children.

•A digital forensic examination that assisted in the conviction of an ex-school bus driver who is now serving 18 to 50 years in prison.

•The guilty plea of a youth minister for using an Internet instant messaging program for sexual communications with minors.

•Investigating more than 1,000 Cyber tips a year.

•Supporting local agencies with technical assistance and financial aid to help strengthen their ability to protect children in their jurisdictions.

The Michigan ICAC Task Force offers the following Internet safety tips for children:

•Diligent parental supervision will help ensure your child’s safety on the Internet.

•Remember that people on the Internet may not be who they seem. Never give out identifying information such as your name, home address, school name or telephone number in a public message, such as in a chat room or on a bulletin board.

•Be wary of any offers that involve you meeting an online friend or having an online friend visit your home.

•Never send your picture without first asking a parent.

•Never respond to messages or items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening or make you feel uncomfortable.

The Michigan ICAC Task Force is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

To contact the Michigan ICAC agency in your area please call Michigan State Police Operations at (517) 241-8000 or to report a cyber predator or to request an Internet safety presentation, visit www.michiganicac.com

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