Swiss anti-paedophile strategy slammed by child protection agency

Cantons have boosted their capabilities to tackle cybercrime but now have more work to do. Keystone-sda-ats Ag Switzerland

In the midst of an ongoing child pornography scandal in Germany, the Swiss child protection agency has called for a better coordinated national strategy to fight the scourge of paedophilia.

This content was published on August 18, 2020 - 14:08

The agency complains that too much is being left to individual cantons to combat the crime and that some are ill-equipped to meet this challenge.

“At the moment, neighbouring countries are ramping up their cooperation, but here more and more is being delegated to the cantons,” agency spokeswoman Regula Bernhard Hug told Swiss public broadcaster SRF. “Since this is an international phenomenon, it needs a national strategy.”

The problem of child pornography has been highlighted by a high-profile case in Cologne, Germany. Police say tens of thousands of people could have viewed pictures of a man abusing his own baby daughter. The images were posted on the Swiss secure messaging system Threema.

The Swiss Federal Office of Police has said it will stop conducting covert investigations into paedophile crimes from next year, instead leaving this to cantons. Bernhard Hug said some cantons have yet to establish a single dedicated post to take on this responsibility.

Urs Hofmann, President of the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors, told SRF that cantons must make resources available. He added that many have significantly boosted capabilities to tackle cybercrime.

Hofmann also believes that any future efforts to centralise the country’s response to child abuse should focus on strengthening the Office of the Attorney General – the Swiss federal prosecutor.

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