The numbers tell the story – eSafety Commission 21/22 Report
The eSafety Commission released their 21/22 Annual Report on 27th October 2022, and the statistics, including around the growth in sextortion are alarming.
As eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant noted, the global pandemic which forced the majority of the world to stay at home for extended periods, had a significant impact on changes in behaviour with regards to Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC), as well as other forms of online abuse.
The facilitation of child sexual assault through online mechanisms continues to occur, and grow, at an alarming rate.
The figures around sextortion also show a sharp rise in image-based abuse especially in males, including children. This abuse can either be a result of grooming and extorting children to provide self-generated child sexual abuse material or can take the form of non-consensual sharing of personal images.
And, while much of the Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSAM) resides on the dark web, the surge in demand for this material over the last year has seen it become more prevalent on the clear web . The eSafety Commission reports removing over 11,000 URLs of prohibited content, 99% of which was CSAM, in the 21/22 FY period.
Whilst the eSafety Commission’s success in removing URLs containing CSAM is a significant step, these statistics reinforce and support the need for the enactment of the Online Safety Act 2021 which was ratified by Parliament in January this year.
This world-leading legislation gives the eSafety Commission new powers to ensure the online safety of Australians, in particular children. And the figures in this annual report underpin the need for businesses operating in the online space to act responsibly and keep the safety of children at the forefront when managing and updating their systems.
With new reporting requirements for a variety of industries built into the Legislation and new Industry Codes currently in review and planning, we are looking forward to supporting the Commission in their work to prevent OSEC under this new, stronger regulatory framework.