How Do We Keep Our Children Safe?




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Crimes against children, particularly cyber crimes such as Internet solicitation and the proliferation of child pornography, are of increasing importance for law enforcement personnel, elected officials and school administrators.

In an effort to provide more complete information and training regarding these complex issues, Rochester Institute of Technology has joined with a number of law enforcement agencies to offer a comprehensive conference on violence and exploitation against and among children.

Keeping Our Children Safe was held today at RIT and featured keynote speaker Georgeann Rooney, Threat Assessment Specialist with the United States Secret Service. She presented on two reports concerning children and violence released at the completion of the federal government’s Safe Schools Initiative. The conference also included a presentation by John Shehan, program manager of the CyberTipline for the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and was attended by law enforcement personnel, school administrators and social service providers from throughout the region.

“It is imperative that we work more closely as a community to protect our children from the many threats they may face on a daily basis,” says Jacqueline Montione-Baldwin of RIT Campus Safety, which sponsored the conference. “It is our hope that this conference will serve as a catalyst for future collaboration between law enforcement, college safety organizations, criminal researchers and educators. We are all facing the same problems and need to work together to create solutions.”

The conference was spurred in part by recent research conducted by Samuel McQuade, professor of criminal justice at RIT. McQuade conducted a survey of RIT college students, recording the extent of computer-related criminal activity on campus and student attitudes towards cyber crime. The study found a surprisingly large percentage had been victims of some form of cyber crime, including identity theft, harassment and stalking. Even more troubling, the study found that many students did not consider cyber crime as serious as other forms of crime. McQuade presented on his findings at the conference and plans on expanding the survey to other colleges and high schools throughout the country.

To learn more about the conference and the topics discussed please visit the Criminal Justice website at www.rit.edu/~crimjust.