MADISON, Wis. – On Safer Internet Day 2023, Attorney General Josh Kaul, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is raising awareness of internet safety. The Wisconsin ICAC Task Force is a collaboration of state and local law enforcement agencies, dedicated to combating child exploitation and abuse online.
“The internet has become an integral part of our lives which connects each of us to far areas of the world. We must embrace this technology, but to do this, it is critical that we take measures to ensure that it is a safe and secure environment for everyone, particularly our children and young people,” said Wisconsin DOJ’s ICAC Commander Jesse Crowe. “DOJ is committed to fighting for a safer internet for everyone.”
In 2022, Wisconsin’s ICAC Task Force investigated 7,039 CyberTips and made 310 arrests. CyberTips have steadily increased over the past decade, with an increase of over 740% since 2013 when the Task Force received only 834 CyberTips. The ICAC Victim Services program provided services to 162 victims and families impacted by online child exploitation of children in 2022, 66 of those were children. The task force includes 311 affiliate agencies in Wisconsin and provided prevention education to over 10,000 people in both 2021 and 2022.
In the 2023-2025 budget, Wisconsin DOJ is requesting 19 additional special agents and criminal analysts, some of whom will be dedicated to the investigation of the exploding number of CyberTips.
The task force produces an educational podcast called Protect Kids Online (PKO). It serves as a resource for parents, grandparents, guardians, or caregivers of children to learn about tips for combating online child exploitation and sextortion, internet safety laws, cyberbullying, protecting your child from strangers online, safe sharing tips and more. During 2022, the PKO podcast was downloaded over 3866 times. PKO podcast episodes can be found here.
The ICAC Task Force offers a variety of services including, investigation and prosecution of offenders of internet crime, investigative and prosecutorial assistance for police agencies and prosecutors, victim services, training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and coordination of internet safety education for parents, teachers and community members.
If you or someone you know has information on potential child exploitation you can report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children online at https://report.cybertip.org/ or by calling 1-800-843-5678. Visit the ICAC Task Force page for internet safety tips for parents and caregivers here.