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Provincial Resources for Internet Child Exploitation Unit Included in 2022-23 Budget

The Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety continues to invest in the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit with funding for two additional ICE investigator positions, one in Saskatoon and one in Regina, in the 2022-23 budget.

“Eliminating child exploitation in our province is paramount,” Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said. “I’d like to take the opportunity during National Police Week to extend our gratitude for the unrelenting work of the ICE unit in protecting our most vulnerable citizens.”

ICE is an integrated policing unit charged with investigating and apprehending perpetrators of child sexual exploitation. Saskatchewan continues to address the sexual exploitation of children and youth through prevention, outreach, harm reduction, treatment and police services.

Key objectives of the ICE unit include reducing the vulnerability of children to internet predators, identifying victimized children, and investigating and assisting in the prosecution of sexual offenders.

Parents are urged to take steps to protect their children online, including:

Check your child’s chat or messaging program to ensure it is set up so that no one can begin speaking to them without permission;
Enable controls and privacy settings on apps/services to limit who can see posted photos or videos;
Monitor the use of cameras on your child’s devices, as well as the posting and exchanging of pictures/videos online;
Know and explore the online games your child wants to play and determine if the game is age-appropriate;
Use filtering options available on search engines to help moderate search results; and
Model for your child how to make careful decisions about what you record and share online.

“It is important for all parents and caregivers to speak with their children about internet safety; it takes a village to keep our kids safe online,” Provincial ICE Coordinator Shawn Stubbs said. “Thank you to the dedicated individuals that work at Sask. ICE for your vigilance in protecting Saskatchewan children.”

Including the two recently added positions, the ministry now funds nine ICE investigator positions across three municipal police services: Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. The ministry also funds five RCMP resources dedicated to the provincial ICE unit. The total provincial contribution to ICE in 2022-23 is $2.1 million.

The ICE unit conducted a record 853 investigations in 2021.

Additional online safety tips for parents, caregivers and youth can be accessed from the following websites: www.protectchildren.ca, www.iamstronger.ca, www.missingkids.com and www.needhelpnow.ca.

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