Computer Crime Research Center


Computer Crime Against Kids Escalates

Date: September 10, 2004
By: Paul Vecchiatto, Cape Town

Less than 4% of rape cases are successfully prosecuted, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has told a discussion on computer crime against children in Cape Town.

The link between online child pornography and wider sexual offences was part of the roundtable discussion hosted by Microsoft. The talks are part of a global campaign conducted by the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to protect children from harmful exposure to pornography, especially child pornography.

Thoko Lajokweni, director of sexual offences at the NPA, says that of 52 000 reported rape cases, half were withdrawn by the police before they were received by prosecutors, another 25% were withdrawn by the complainants, and less than half of the remainder resulted in actual convictions.

"We have had to find a model that will allow for the management of rape cases that will allow more successful prosecutions," she says.

Lajokweni says child pornography has two elements. The first is the exposure of the victim to the images and the second is the active procurement of such images. "The second element is the crime, while the first is the creation of the victim."

Sheila Johnson, director of the Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, says the centre receives reports of 250 000 missing children on a global basis every year.

"Since 1996, child pornography on the Internet has been an escalating problem and we have to do something before it spirals out of control," she says.
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