Published: 15 January 2024 at 15:54
ARU’s PIER24 conference in May aims to turn commitments into concrete policies
Anglia Ruskin University’s Policing Institute for the Eastern Region (PIER) is calling on experts from across the globe to come together to agree action to prevent the continuing rise of online child sexual abuse.
PIER has opened registrations for ‘PIER24’, its annual conference which will take place on 21 and 22 May. The conference will focus on best practice, innovation and progress in the global fight against this rising crime.
According to figures released this month, there are currently around 107,000 cases of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (CSAE) reported to police in England and Wales alone each year. This figure, likely to be a vast underestimation of the true scale of the problem, is a four-fold increase compared to 10 years ago.
Worldwide, reporting figures continue to rise. In the US, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) operates the CyberTipline, a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation. In 2022, the CyberTipline received 32,059,029 reports, with 31.9 million related to suspected child sexual abuse material.
Taking place this year at the Renaissance Hotel at Heathrow Airport and also streamed online, this year’s conference builds on the success of the 2023 event, which brought together more than 50 speakers from across the world, welcomed more than 1,300 delegates to participate in the discussion, and saw leading organisations commit to combined action to tackle the issue.
Simon Bailey, Chair of the PIER research institute at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:
Presentations at this year’s conference will cover the global response to online child sexual abuse, targeting offenders, victim identification, offender management, education and awareness, the role of ‘big tech’, and regulation.
PIER is an applied research institute, which for the last six years has worked with law enforcement and key stakeholders to improve the policing and public protection response to the online threat of child sexual abuse.
It has a global network of partners with a role and responsibility to understand online child abuse and to contribute towards work to protect children. Organisations represented at PIER24 will include Ofcom, the Internet Watch Foundation, WeProtect Global Alliance, PA Consulting and the National Safeguarding Panel.
Other organisations represented with speakers at the event will include Child Rescue Coalition, StopSo, Circles, ‘Protect Children’ the Polish Platform for Homeland Security, Ending Violence Against Children (EVAC), and the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). Speakers will be attending from Europe, Canada and Australia and will discuss best practice, research and learning in the combined response to online harms. The full programme will be released in the coming weeks.
Delegates can register to attend in person or online here https://www.aru.ac.uk/policing-institute/events/pier-conference-2024