Tia and April parents call for drive on child porn

THE parents of murdered children April Jones and Tia Sharp have called for more action to tackle child porn on the internet as the government and leading technology companies agreed a new crackdown.

Internet firms and the government have agreed to tougher measures to tackle child porn. Picture: PA

In interviews broadcast last night, five-year-old April’s parents, Paul and Coral Jones, and 12-year-old Tia’s father, Steven Clark, all agreed their ­children’s killers had been spurred on by sick images found online.

Their comments came after representatives of internet firms including Google, ­Microsoft and BT met with Culture Secretary Maria Miller at Westminster.

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The four main UK internet service providers (ISPs) have agreed to provide an extra £1 million funding for the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to help it work with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

Google is set to pledge money to tackle the issue. Picture: PA

Mark Bridger, who killed April in Wales, and Stuart ­Hazell, murderer of Tia in south ­London, were both found to have accessed child and violent pornography, and some experts argue there is a clear link ­between obsessions and actions.

Mr and Mrs Jones told Channel 5 News that they want Prime Minister David Cameron to become personally involved in the fight against child abuse online.

Mrs Jones said: “April was a fighter from the word go and I promised her I’ll do this for her.

“I said I’ll help other children, so their family don’t have to go through this, their brothers and sisters. It’s not just us it affects, it affects brothers and sisters as well. I just want it stopped and I think the government should put more pressure and get it done now.

“I’m going to do April’s ­internet fight so everyone else can help as well. If they see something they don’t think is right, contact the police, so that person can help themselves ­before it goes too far and someone else is killed or abused.”

Mr Clark has told Channel 5 News that stopping indecent online images of children could have saved his daughter.

He said: “You’re fuelling the beast and it needs to be stopped. It should have been stopped a long time ago, when these people were setting up companies.

“They should be looking at what would be the outcome of indecent images of children. And then they need to think, ‘Right, what steps can we take to block those images?’”

Staff from Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Vodafone, O2, EE and Three were at the meeting in Westminster.

At present, the IWF only acts on content that has been reported rather than seeking it out.

Mrs Miller said: “Now, for the first time, the IWF has been asked to work alongside Ceop to search for illegal and abusive images and block them. The abuse of children is absolutely abhorrent – and that child is further violated every single time an image is circulated and viewed.

“This agreement will mean these organisations will no longer be limited to reacting to reports received. They will now have the remit and the resources to take the fight to the criminals perpetrating these vile acts.”

She added that ISPs will now introduce “splash pages” which tell people the images they are attempting to view are illegal.

In a joint statement, the UK’s four largest ISPs – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – said: “This funding will help to target those individuals that create and distribute the content.”

Net loophole

Women’s groups are calling on the Prime Minister to close a legal loophole that gives animals and dead people better legal protection than women and girls when it comes to internet pornography.

In a letter they warn that depictions of rape scenes are legal as long as the actors are over 18. Yet the same law makes possessing images of bestiality or necrophilia illegal.

The letter, signed by various groups, calls on the government to “take urgent action against violent and misogynistic pornography”.