New Publication: Legislating for the Digital Age
Coram International is pleased to mark the publication of, ‘Legislating for the digital age: Global guide on improving legislative frameworks to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse’. The guide, commissioned by UNICEF and written by Coram International, provides practical guidance for governments, civil society, industry and country offices of international organisations to advocate for and develop legislation to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse.
The guide adds to existing national model frameworks and toolkits by placing the spotlight on the minimum and recommended standards to be incorporated by States into their legislation, as part of their efforts to prevent and respond effectively to child sexual exploitation and abuse.
The standards, which are presented in the guide through a series of checklists, are accompanied by commentary on the underpinning international and regional laws and guidelines, as well as practical examples of how States have incorporated these standards into their laws in practice. The examples cover a range of common law, civil law and mixed jurisdictions across the world, including Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, Ireland, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia, Philippines, UAE, UK, USA and Zimbabwe.
The guide covers standards relating to legislative processes as well as content, including the development of evidence-based legislation; stakeholder engagement and catalysts for legal reform; identification of appropriate methods of legislative reform (such as via criminal justice, cybercrime, child rights, child protection, online safety and/or other law); the criminalisation of online child sexual exploitation and abuse; the rights and responsibilities in relation to business; procedures and methods of investigation; victim support, rehabilitation, reintegration and redress; independent regulation and monitoring; and the implementation of legislation.
The guide offers child rights-based approaches to handling complex issues such as ‘sexting’ and so-called ‘self-generated sexual content’, the regulation of the tech industry and cross-border investigations.
The guide comes at a pivotal moment, as reports indicate an increase in the scale, severity and complexity of online child sexual exploitation and abuse, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also coincides with emerging efforts in high-income countries to regulate the tech industry, including the Online Safety Bill in the UK and recent proposals by the European Commission to require online platforms to detect, report and remove child sexual abuse content.
The global guide is based on research and consultations undertaken with governments, civil society, industry, regulators, international organisations as well as practitioners. The Global Guide was commissioned by UNICEF with the support of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Agency for International Cooperation.
7 June 2022