The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a surge in online distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), which was already at high levels prior to the pandemic. The harm resulting from being a victim of this crime is severe, and every time a picture or video is shared, this results in repeat victimisation. The impact of this crime area can hardly be overstated and an effective response is of utmost importance.
Europol’s role is to coordinate Member States’ investigations into those who abuse children, encourage and enable that abuse, or make abuse material available through online platforms. Europol uses intelligence products to inform law enforcement partners about suspects’ activities and behaviour, and to potentially identify both offenders and victims. Europol works with partners to organise prevention and awareness-raising campaigns and will contribute its expertise to the discussions around the upcoming EU Strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse.