NCMEC’s Updated CyberTipline

September 13, 2023 Criminal Defense, Violent Crimes

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is the nation’s resource for missing and exploited children. Their tool, CyberTipline, allows individuals to make reports of alleged child abuse or illicit content of children seen online. Once the tip has been submitted, NCMEC will review it, add supplementary information when necessary, and forward it to law enforcement for further investigation when warranted.

In 2022, there was an estimated 32 million reports of alleged abuse made to the CyberTipline. From these reports, NCMEC was able to identify 49,000 urgent situations involving a child in imminent danger.

As of August 2022, NCMEC and the Department of Justice have begun working on a redesign of the tip line.

NCMEC announced it was launching a new version of CyberTipline for only the second time since its initial launch over 25 years ago. With funding help from the End Violence Fund’s Safe Online portfolio, the goal of the redesign was to improve survivor’s reporting experience, as well as enhance the information that is collected from each report.

Some of the updates in the newest CyberTipline reporting form include:

  • Modernized look and feel;
  • More immediate access to support resources for victims and families;
  • Collects additional information for NCMEC and law enforcement;
  • Information available in Spanish; and
  • Designed to be more mobile-friendly.

The following is a statement provided by John Shehan, senior vice president of Exploited Children Division and International Engagement:

“Every report made to the CyberTipline is critical because it has the potential to help stop the sexual abuse of a child, the continued spread of abusive images and videos, or other forms of exploitation. Our hope for these updates is that we will be able to do more for the children, families, and members of the public who come to us looking for help.”

To find out more about NCMEC and the various forensic resources used by them, read our page here.

End Violence’s Safe Online Initiative

End Violence Against Children’s Safe Online program is leading in global efforts to create a safer internet for children. Their site explains how more children are growing up on the internet and potentially facing threats and dangers of the online world. While there are concerns of online harassment and violence, the biggest threat to children online remains the alarming growth of online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA), in addition to the creation and sharing of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

The mission of Safe Online includes the following:

  • Investing in strengthening systems, building capacities and innovative technology solutions for tackling online harm to children;
  • Generating new knowledge and evidence on what works, and connect with organizations across sectors for strengthening collaborative efforts; and
  • Raising awareness and advocating with governments, industries, and other key stakeholders to prioritize online child safety in their policies, budgets, and business practices.

Making CyberTipline Reports

NCMEC provides the following information regarding the steps after making a report through CyberTipline:

  1. Review – When a report is filed, NCMEC reviews the report to quickly identify if it involves a child in immediate or impending harm. If that is the case, law enforcement will be contacted immediately. NCMEC will also attempt to identify the possible location or other information that may be useful for police.
  2. Contact and Support – If you have provided personal information, NCMEC may reach out to you. They may also reach out to provide resources for victims and their families.
  3. Refer to Law Enforcement – When reports have specific locations or other identifying information provided, NCMEC will make the report available to law enforcement. If the local jurisdiction can’t be determined, NCMEC will make the report available to federal law enforcement for their review.

What if an individual is making a report for accidentally witnessing CSAM?

NCMEC states that they understand how unsettling or upsetting this can be. You can receive support and guidance provided on their website.

Reporting alleged child pornography to NCMEC is extremely important, especially if you are unaware how it appeared on your digital device. The State can prosecute you for any possession of alleged CSAM. If convicted, penalties include expensive fines, potential imprisonment, and a lifelong registration as a sex offender. If you have any questions, consider consulting a Tallahassee criminal defense attorney

Contact a Leon County Criminal Defense Attorney

While the updated CyberTipline is extremely beneficial to victims and their families, it is important to address that there can be instances of false allegations or mistaken identity. Further, it is possible to have illicit content downloaded onto your devices without your knowledge or consent. If you or a loved one have been accused of a sex crime, it is in your best interest to contact a defense attorney to represent your case.

Don Pumphrey and his team have years of experience representing those in need of criminal defense. When you hire Pumphrey Law Firm, our attorneys will provide non-stop support and guidance to you. We represent those in Tallahassee and the surrounding North Florida areas. Call us today at (850) 681-7777 or leave us an online message for a free consultation regarding your case.

Written by Karissa Key

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