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Investigation of Online Child Abuse Cases

The Paedophile Investigation Unit at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation deals with online child abuse cases and works together with the Computer Crime Investigation Unit and selected gardaí throughout the country.

 

Training, advice and practical support are provided by the staff of the Paedophile Investigation Unit to these members and the resources working in this area at any one time relates to the volume of work currently in progress.  An Garda Síochána has undertaken numerous investigations in this important area and individuals have been convicted of various child pornography offences right throughout the country.


In addition, a member of An Garda Síochána is attached to the Trafficking in Human Beings Section of Interpol specialising in crimes against children. As this is a crime which transcends borders, one of our most valuable tools is our relationship and cooperation with colleagues in other law enforcement agencies. An Garda Síochána conducts all of its international operations through Europol or Interpol (Interpol is a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce). It is unfortunate that some people don't always appreciate that children are abused in order to create these images and a key focus of our work with international colleagues is the identification and location of victims.


In terms of the tracking and monitoring software, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit keeps itself updated on the software available for these investigations. One member of the Unit is qualified as a trainer on the Operation Fairplay Peer to Peer tracking and monitoring software and is currently training other investigators.


Members of the Paedophile Investigation Unit are certified by the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) as computer forensic examiners (CFCE). They undertake continuous training to keep up to date in this field and to maintain IACIS certification requirements.


Training undertaken by members of the Unit includes but is not limited to:

Europol Combating the Sexual Exploitation of Children on the Internet Europol

CEPOL Child Abuse in Cyberspace

UCD Masters in Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime Investigations

Interpol Internet Investigation Course


An Garda Síochána has a close working relationship with the Centre for Cyber Crime Investigation at UCD, sat on the advisory board when the centre was established and provides lecturers for courses run by the Centre. Members of An Garda Síochána have also participated as trainers in Europol and Interpol courses on the cyber crime and the sexual exploitation of children on the internet.


An Garda Síochána is proactive in the investigation of online child abuse and has invested both human and technical resources in this crucial area.  We have achieved significant results in terms of both the identification and protection of victims and the prosecution of offenders. We are also engaged with internet service providers on the issue of the introduction blocking technology in this jurisdiction.


However, it is important to remember that there is a role for everyone in the community in the prevention and detection of online child abuse. We would advise young internet users to be careful about the information and photographs they share online and to discuss any approaches made to them online with a parent, teacher or their local gardaí. Parents should talk to their children about their online activity and be aware of what they are doing and who they communicating with on the computer or mobile telephone.