A Digital Manifesto for Britain’s children

Today CHIS published its “Digital Manifesto”.  The manifesto sets out the UK children’s organizations’  proposals for the consideration of the main political parties contesting seats in May in  the General Election for the Westminster Parliament. The parties’ responses will be published as soon as possible.

The document is downloadable here.

There is a great deal of meaty stuff in the manifesto. Below are some of the key points

1. The government should consider creating  a new legal right for victims of child sex abuse to obtain financial compensation from persons found in unlawful possession of an image of that abuse.

2. It should be made a crime for any bank, credit card company or other organisation,to provide financial or other services to websites involved in the commercial publishing of pornography without having a robust age verification mechanism in place to ensure children cannot access it.

3. The same principle should be extended to all businesses selling any type of legally age restricted goods or services over the internet.

4. A new body should be established, or a new division created within an existing one, with the legal powers to ensure internet companies are transparent and accountable in respect of actions aimed at supporting online child safety, and in particular in relation to potential sexual abuse  or content that encourages damaging behaviour.

5. Such a body or division should also be given the power to make legally binding orders requiring internet companies to take necessary and proportionate measures to safeguard children online, both generally and in respect of their position as economic actors and targets of advertising.

6. Every UK territorial police force should have a dedicated unit with appropriately trained officers to deal specifically with sexual and other online offences against children.

7.  A major review of public policy in respect of child abuse images online should be established.

8. The next government should take the lead in establishing an international body to mediate between industry and law enforcement in relation to illegal online content to ensure it is identified and removed from the internet rapidly.

9. The next government should press for an amendment to, or clarification of, the E-Commerce Directive to ensure it does not act as a disincentive to firms actively seeking out content or activity on their sites which breaches their terms and conditions of service.

10. The next government should establish a ‘high-tech social fund’, financed through corporate contributions, to support research into online child protection and the deterrence of online offenders, as well as  initiatives to support children who have been the victims of abuse online.