CDA One-Year Anniversary

We are delighted to share with you our inaugural newsletter to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Child Dignity Alliance (CDA)! Born from the 2017 Child Dignity in the Digital World Congress, we have since made significant progress in fulfilling the mandate set out by the Declaration of Rome to tackle online child sexual exploitation (OCSE) globally.
Our working groups have some wonderful achievements to share from the past 12 months. Here are some highlights:

Prevention Research:

World-leading child safety academics Dr Elizabeth Letourneau, Dr Michael Seto and Fr Hans Zollner have created a comprehensive, 15-year global prevention research proposal that aims to discover and implement an international best-practice for safeguarding children online.

Global Foundational Research

Renowned child psychologist, founder of Il Telefono Azzurro and Chair of this working group, Prof ErnestoCaffo, has leveraged his network of international academics to create a volume of ground-breaking scientific articles, shining light on key aspects of the OCSE problem. We are happy to say publisher, Springer, has offered us a book contract for our volume, due to be out mid-2020!

Building a Multi-Faith Coalition

It was our steering committee’s vision and advocacy of fostering interfaith collaboration to tackle OCSE that inspired and mobilised the UAE’s 2018 Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities: Child Dignity Onlinein Abu Dhabi last November. Globally, 85% of people identify with a religion; and religious leaders at all levels have unique access to circles of trust within families, where sadly much of the abuse occurs. The event provided a groundbreaking introduction to OCSE for many religious leaders, and also secured a commitment from seven of the world's most senior religious figures to spread awareness and understanding of the issue in their institutions and communities. For more information please visit the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities website.

Protecting Children from Online Porn

CDA Chairman Ernie Allen has been working unilaterally to advocate and mobilise his policy network to replicate the UK’s Age Verification (AV) law internationally. He has engaged key government officials and NGOs in Canada, USA, Australia, South Africa, Sweden and Poland, securing their support to lobby for legislative replication once the impact of the UK AV law has been observed. We will be following and reporting on the roll-out once the UK AV law comes into force on 15th July 2019.

Technology & Its Impact - Technical Working Group

Lead by Australian eSafety Commissioner and tech-industry veteran Julie Inman-Grant and her team, this group published a report in November 2018 highlighting the scope of the OCSE problem, and detailing the current barriers to crucial cross-sector collaboration. The report outlined 15 key recommendations to foster greater cooperation between government, law enforcement and the technology industry in the fight against OCSE. The paper can be accessed here.

As an appendix to this report, and to further the work in tackling OCSE, today we are launching a comprehensive inventory of technologies that can be used by industry, government and regulators. The first of its kind, the inventory will maintained by the CDA and kept up-to-date with the latest OCSE detection, categorisation and removal technologies.

Building Global Awareness

We would like to say a big thank you to the team at Harvard, a PR and Marketing company in London. Their pro-bono communications support has formed the core of this working group, and their help promoting the vision and work of the CDA has been instrumental in the success we have achieved this year. It was through their hard work that we were able to create and launch our Technical Working Group Report and Inventory, build our online following in a way that spoke to our goals and spread word of our vision and mission.

So what’s to come?

We are very proud to announce the expansion of our steering committee, welcoming four new members onto the board of directors. In addition to our Chair Ernie Allen and our previous steering committee members Baroness Joanna Shields, Professor Ernesto Caffo, Father Hans Zollner and Father Federico Lombardi, we have added the brilliant expertise of Rabbi Diana S. Gerson, Tracey Rembert, Mario Calvo-Platero and Dr Bernard Gerbaka. For more information on these child protection champions please visit our website board page.
Stay tuned, as we’ll have plenty of updates for you soon; our Prevention Research group’s funding successes and findings are imminent, and we’ll be working towards finalising our groundbreaking book manuscript for Springer.
We’ll also be facilitating further major Interfaith gatherings, while keeping expert track of the roll-out of the UK AV law, alongside offering advice on legal positioning when using OCSE technology evidence to prosecute. And if all that wasn’t enough, we’ll soon be launching our new working group - Amplifying the Voice of Youth Stakeholders. 

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues, so they can also hear about the work being done across the CDA. We are in the process of revitalising our website, but for more information about our genesis and working groups please visit our website. We tweet daily @ChildDignity and would greatly welcome your connection and dialogue.
If you have any questions about our work please do not hesitate to get in touch. Otherwise, we look forward to connecting with you via our next annual newsletter.