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Combating Child Pornography: Steps Are Needed to Ensure That Tips to Law Enforcement Are Useful and Forensic Examinations Are Cost Effective

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2011
77 pages
This report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office to Congressional Committees examines steps needed to ensure that law enforcement has the ability to effectively combat child pornography.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that while the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) takes steps to obtain feedback from law enforcement on the usefulness of the information that it receives from its tipline, it does not systematically collect information on how useful the tips have been in initiating and advancing investigations. The GAO also found that law enforcement officials reported on the lack of a single automated system to provide comprehensive case information and backlogs in forensic analysis of digital evidence can delay or hinder successful investigations in child pornography. The purpose of this report was threefold: (1) to examine the extent to which NCMEC determines the usefulness of tips; (2) to investigate mechanisms to help law enforcement coordination; and (3) to examine the extent to which agencies are addressing factors that Federal law enforcement reports may inhibit investigations. The report was mandated as part of the Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats (PROTECT) to Our Children Act of 2008. Data for this report were obtained from interviews with law enforcement officials, selected to reflect geographic range, who investigate crimes against children. Recommendations for implementing the provisions of the PROTECT Our Children Act are discussed. Tables, figures, and appendixes