Abuse specialist, Rachel Thain, reports on action being taken to block images of child abuse on the internet

Steps to block child abuse images on the internet have been agreed with Google and Microsoft, two of the largest search engines on the web. It is understood these plans will mean that around 100,000 search terms will not return any results which include illegal material. Furthermore, the search engines will activate a warning that imagery of child abuse is illegal when the banned terms are used.

These steps are very much welcomed by us. This has long been known to be an acute problem, as evidenced by the case of the Devon paedophile John Bidmead who was found to be in possession of over a million indecent images if children, many of which had been downloaded from the internet.

Making it more difficult for paedophiles to obtain indecent images is a clearly step in the right direction as far as we are concerned. Some critics have said that it will not prevent child abuse from occurring in the first place and concerns have also been raised by libertarians that the ban amounts to censorship. However, any changes which may deter child abuse or make it more difficult to engage in paedophile activity have got to be a good thing.

The ban will only impact on abusers who are using these search engines to locate indecent images. Unfortunately, many paedophiles access indecent images from other sources, so this is by no means a full solution to the problem. There is no easy fix, but this at least sends a clear message that individuals and organisations alike need to take responsibility for ensuring that action is taken to restrict access to illegal and inappropriate material on the internet.

If you are affected by these issues and would like some free, no-obligation advice from the abuse team at Slee Blackwell Solicitors, please contact us on freephone 0808 139 1597.

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