Winnipeg, MB: Yesterday, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) and the Phoenix 11 were in Ottawa to meet with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale to discuss the devastating and often lifelong impacts of child sexual abuse and the traumatic experience survivors face when their abuse was also recorded and distributed online.
The Phoenix 11 are a group of survivors who were sexually abused as children and had their child sexual abuse recorded, and in the majority of cases, distributed online. To mark this important meeting, the C3P is releasing a recorded Advocacy Impact Statement from the Phoenix 11. View the Advocacy Impact Statement at protectchildren.ca/phoenix11.
This is the third time they have gathered to provide a voice for victims. Most recently, in July 2018, the Phoenix 11 met in Winnipeg to craft an advocacy agenda in an effort to raise awareness about the unique challenges and overwhelming struggles facing child sexual abuse imagery victims and survivors.
Survivors of child sexual abuse who have been identified and those who have yet to be identified have to face everyday the knowledge that the worst moments of their lives have been recorded and shared online. They cope daily with the fear of their imagery being seen by someone they know, being recognized randomly by strangers—all with the awareness that they completely lack control over how their imagery is used and who has it. Today, the Phoenix 11 join together to pursue the expeditious removal of their child sexual abuse imagery from the internet and are using their collective voice to advance that demand.
In January 2016, C3P and a number of partner experts from around the globe launched the first-ever international survey for adult survivors to better understand the unique challenges faced by victims whose abuse was recorded and may have been distributed online. Recommendations for change were put forward to reduce the availability of sexual abuse images on the public internet, improve education and training on the issue, strengthen international coordination and communication between all systems and entities that intersect with victims, and develop remedies to recognize the rights and unique needs of survivors.
In February, 2018, C3P and the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children organized the first retreat for a group of survivors in North America to share similar experiences in a safe and supportive environment. The Phoenix 11 were born out of that retreat, forming an action group focused on advancing the agenda and bringing the collective voices of survivors and victims to the global arena.
“Listening first-hand to these brave young women speak candidly of their horrific childhood sexual abuse and its life-long impact was absolutely devastating and a definite call to do more. The sexual exploitation of children and its distribution online are abhorrent and intolerable crimes and I continue to be committed to victims and survivors and to push for the eradication of child sexual abuse imagery online both in Canada and internationally, through the G7 and the Five-Eyes Alliance.”
“We are very privileged to hear the honest and painful truth from these brave women. Their courage in coming forward further reinforces our relentless pursuit of eradicating the public availability of child sexual abuse imagery online, and the need for better support for survivors who live with this reality day in and day out. We are tremendously grateful for the Minister’s time and commitment to listen to the voice of these survivors and for the government’s global leadership to solve this crisis.”