Family Violence Division: Internet Crimes Against Children
The Family Violence Division is responsible for investigating and prosecuting a wide range of computer-related crimes against children, including the use and dissemination of pornographic material involving children and the solicitation of children by online predators. Also handled by this division are violations of the Maryland Sex Offender registry laws.
Most of the internet crimes against children cases prosecuted by the FVD originate with the Montgomery County Police Department, Family Crimes Division, Pedophile Section which currently has five full-time investigators. These units work closely with the regional Maryland State Police Department Task Force on Internet Crimes Against Children as well as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The violations of the Maryland Sex Offender registry laws also originate with the Montgomery County Police Department, Family Crimes Division, Pedophile Section.
The FVD began prosecuting thse cases in response to a growing need for internet safety for our children.
John McCarthy, our State's Attorney, on Internet Crimes against children:
"The safety of children in our community is one of my main concerns as State's Attorney. While the growth of the Internet provides great opportunities, for learning, it also presents risks for young children for sexual solicitation and other dangerous activities.
To combat these dangers, I developed the Internet Crimes Against Children/Sex Offender Unit. This Unit handles the prosecutions of child pornographers, sexual soliticiations over the Internet, and sexual offenders who have not registered as required by law. Additionally, this Unit works to educate parents and children about Internet safety. The Internet can be a wonderful resource, but we must work together to protect children from those who would use the Internet to prey on them.
My Office pledges to aggressively prosecute Internet predators and as well to work with the community to insure that parents and schools have the information needed to protect our most precious resource --our children."
- Talk to your kids about their Internet Use
- Be sure to place your computer out in the open so that you can monitor its use, and periodically review your child's Internet use.
- Consider rating, blocking, monitoring, and filtering applications for your computer.
- Set reasonable rules regarding the time of day, length of time, people with whom they may communicate, and appropriate areas for them to visit when online.
- Make sure these rules apply to portable devices such as cell phones and laptops.
- Encourage your kids to come to you or a trusted adult when they see anything on the computer that bothers them.
- Tell your children never to give out personal information
- Tell your children not to arrange to meet in person with someone who they have met online without first checking with a trusted adult.
Report any predator behavior to the authorities.
- Turn off the computer monitor right away and tell a trusted adult about anything that makes you scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
- Never share personal information without your parent's or guardian's permission.
- Never meet in person with anyone who you have first met "online"
- Do not use rude or mean language on the Internet, and do not respond to any messages that are mean or rude.
For Middle and High School Students:
- Talk with your parents and guardians about their expectations and ground rules for going online.
- Keep all aspects of your identity private.
- Never respond to any online communication that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Never meet in person with anyone you have first "met" online without discussing it with a trusted adult.
- Respect other people's rights when online.
The Following is a Listing of Helpful Links Concerning Internet Safety
Founded in 1984, NCMEC's mission is to help prevent child abduction, and sexual exploitation, help find missing children; and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professioinals that serve them. Among its many other services, NCMEC operates a cyber tip line tha the public may use to report Internet-related child sexual exploitation.
Netsmartz 411 is a parents and guardians online resource for learning about Internet safety, computers and the web that can answer all questions about the online world.
Search for any registered sex offender by name or zip code. Also provide the criteria for each offender classification as well as the relevant laws.
Sites teaching children online safety:
Law enforcement agencies:
- U.S. Department of Justice - www.cybercrime.gov
- Federal Bureau of Investigation - www.fbi.gov
- Internet Fraud Complaint Center - http://www1.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp
Parent guides to the Internet (learning how to use it and control its content):
config.asp (Internet Explorer Content Advisor)
columns/bowman/02june03.asp (Online Safety-Internet, Instant Messaging, and Chat Rooms)
Parent guides to safe Internet sites for children: