Sunday 25 September 2022

President’s Foundation urges authorities to be vigilant against online predators

The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society is concerned by the outcome of a “sting operation” disseminated in the national media, which has revealed the troubling reality of online predatory behaviour in the Maltese Islands.

The Foundation is urging national authorities to continue working in synergy with civil society, educational institutions, and other relevant stakeholders, to identify, prevent, and end the criminal activity of potential and actual online predators, in a timely and efficient manner.

“We must all join in the work of protecting the youngest members of our society, to ensure that the holistic wellbeing of each and every person in the Maltese Islands is effectively safeguarded,” the Foundation said.

While reaffirming the right of every child to grow up in a caring and loving environment, the Foundation said that since online abuse manifested itself in psychological harm to victims, authorities should ensure that parents and caretakers had the necessary resources to properly care for their children’s online welfare and the reassurance that legal enforcement is swift and effective.

Online sexual abuse involves the misuse of web cameras, mobile phones, social media, and other means to coerce targeted victims into inappropriate and sometimes illegal sex acts.

Preventing child abuse is an effort that must be undertaken in all our homes, our schools, and our communities. Online child abuse is a unique form of abuse, which may not happen face-to-face, nor does it necessarily require physical contact. It can also result in negative in-person consequences, including rape, sexual assault, and harassment.

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