On 11 February 2021 the Council of Europe regional project End Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse @ Europe (EndOCSEA@Europe) and project on Combating violence against children in the Republic of Moldova held a webinar on “Introductory session on online child sexual abuse and exploitation (OCSEA)” for police, judges and prosecutors.
The Webinar was designed to start building capacities on common priority issues while increasing interagency cooperation. It offered a set of information related to standards on OCSEA, focusing on relevant Lanzarote Convention articles relating to the removal of the alleged perpetrator and support and assistance during and after investigation and criminal proceedings to OCSEA and the protection of child victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings. It also looked at the relevant Budapest Convention articles covering elements such as production order and search and seizure of stored computer data.
The Webinar was attended by judges, prosecutors, criminal investigative officers and representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Academy “Ștefan cel Mare”, National Institute of Justice and relevant NGOs.
In his welcoming remarks William Massolin, the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Chisinau underlined that the ”Child sexual abuse both offline and online, is a serious crime, which has negative life-long consequences for victims, that can follow them well into adulthood. (…) The current Covid 19 pandemic has further worsen the situation. According to the latest Europol Report, online child sexual abuse in Europe has increased and has become one of the top cybercrime threats, as a result of the lockdown measures put in place during the Covid 19 pandemic”.
Artur Degteariov, Head of Section III, IT Crimes Investigation Directorate, General Inspectorate of Police, Member of the Lanzarote Committee noted “Recently, more and more cases of online sexual abuse of children are identified in the Republic of Moldova. During 2020, the General Inspectorate of Police ordered the seizure of 400 data storage devices with 42,000 photographic images with sexual abuse of children. This is a sign that urgent intervention by law enforcement is needed. In this context, in order to strengthen the response of law enforcement agencies to this phenomenon, it is important to strengthen the capacities of legal professionals”.
The activity falls within the immediate outcome 4 of the Combating violence against children in the Republic of Moldova project “Improved skills and know-how of professionals to respond to violence against children and promote child-friendly practices” and is at the same time in line with EndOCSEA@Europe objective to deliver support to focus countries of the project, including Republic of Moldova.