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Internet Offenders 

Abuse of children on-line is now the most prevalent form of child sexual exploitation. This includes a range of abusive and predatory behaviours such as : Making and Distributing Child Abuse Images and victim accessing / grooming as well as direct abuse (coercing children to to engage in sexual activity online). 

Facts and Figures → 

Hernandez (2000) conducted a study of the 90 volunteers, 54 men had been convicted of child pornography offences (possession and distribution). 
Findings – Of the 54 offenders, 29 (54%) had NO documented history of contact sexual crimes based on their pre-sentence reports. 
79.6% of the offenders admitted to having prior contact sexual crimes after participation in the treatment program. 
62% of the offenders who had no documented sexual crimes (based on reports) admitted to having undetected contact sexual crimes. 
In his overall study of 90 males (which also included offenders who had made contact with children over the Internet and planned to travel to meet them) 76% had contact sexual crimes. 
Of the 1294 individuals arrested by Postal Inspectors since 1997 for using the mail and the Internet to sexually exploit children, actual child molesters were identified in 36% of the cases. 
In 2001 78% of child exploitation cases investigated by Postal Inspectors involved computers as well as postal violations (Source: 2001 Annual Report of Investigations US Postal Inspections Service) 
Quayle/Taylor (2002) conducted interviews with 23 men – all convicted of child pornography offences: 
86.9% had traded images. 
13% had produced and traded images  
4.4% had engaged in the Internet seduction of a child  
47.8% had committed contact offences during the period of downloading. 
Researchers from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF), suggests that that up to 20% of a conservative estimate of 320,000 suspected UK paedophiles were women.. 


The range of predatory and abusive behaviours that may occur over the internet may be quite varied.There are distinct areas of the Internet that individuals with a sexual interest in children may go. Therefore, being clear about the pattern of behaviour that is the cause for concern or the offending history is extremely important to the accuracy and reliability of the risk assessment in terms of 
the nature of the harmful behaviour,  
who is most likely to be harmed,  
the nature and impact of the harm and the imminence of harm.  
Thus language and terminology are crucial to the way in which risk concerns and decisions are communcated. 
Pornography of all types (including child abusive images) is available from numerous web sites, either for free or for a charge. The term ‘child pornography’ is fast becoming outdated when relating to indecent sexual images of children. In this training we use and promote the use of the term "Child Abuse Images" as a more accurate descritptive for the material that offenders use and distribute. 
"Making" a child abuse image may refer to the taking or recording of the image but may include downloading such images from the internet. 
"Posession" includes hard copies of images or holding digital images in any location or device.  
Images refers to still images and moving images i.e. video and can include "pseudo images". These are images of children that have been adpated or edited to be sexual in their nature. "Indecent Images of Children" has been extended to include drawings, cartoons, tracings etc depicitng sexual images of or involving children. 
The term grooming is used generally in child safeguarding to refer to a process of accessing a target child and overcoming their resistance. The Criminal Offence of Child Grooming is somewhat more specific however: To be convicted for the offence of grooming the offender must have made contat with a child through any medium and made arrangements to meet the child for the pupropses of engaing in sexual activity with them. 
This inevitably means communicating with other paedophiles to share images (still and moving images) of child abuse, engage in discussion about child sexual abuse and conspire to commit child sexual abuse. 

Facilitators of Communication and Distribution of Child Abuse Images 

Individuals with shared interests can post information and files containing images to a specific group (e.g. usenet newsgroups and bulletin boards) that has an identifiable name, which generally indicates the nature of the subject matter (Carr 2001). 
Bulletin boards are mediums by which users can send and receive text, engage in conversations and both upload and download files (Durkin and Bryant 1995). 
In the mid 1990s, US military researchers created a technology that allowed intelligence operatives to exchange information completely anonymously. They called it 'Tor', which stands for 'The Onion Router'. As part of their strategy for secrecy, they released Tor into the public domain for anyone to use. Their reasoning was simple: the more people using the system, the harder it would be to separate the government's own messages from the general noise. 
Tor spread widely and today, is a critical part of the so-called 'dark web': a network of untraceable online activity and hidden websites, of which Tor hosts approximately 30,000. And that anonymity has attracted a huge range of people; all who want to keep their activities hidden. 
Individuals with shared interests can post information and files containing images to a specific group that has an identifiable name, which generally indicates the nature of the subject matter (Carr 2001). 
Bulletin boards enable users to send and receive text, engage in conversations and both upload and download files. 
These are more specialist communication tools of the Internet, which allows for groups to create invitation-only communities for special interest groups – such as paedophilia. Often such groups will have methods to screen applicants i.e. ensure that they are not law enforcement agents. Typically, someone wishing to join a group may be required to make a deposit of a large number of child abuse images befoer even being accepted. 
Allows a person to chat in real time using text. Often used by children, they are used by child sex-offenders as a means of seeking out potential child victims. These adults will often pose as children in order to elicit personal information including sexual orientation. 
The offenders can also communicate with individuals who share their interests as a way of normalising their deviant beliefs. 
This process allows a user to access the data drive of another user in order to upload and download files. ‘Paedophiles can therefore be invited to ‘visit’ somebody else’s collection and take what material they want’ (Quayle and Taylor, 2001). 
The capability and availability of a range of devices means that it is easier now than ever before to send text messages, images and videos as live communication. 

Offenders Who Collect and Share Child Abuse Images 

Hames (1993) identified certain key traits in the material seized by the Obscene Publications Branch. These traits have appeared in earlier literature, and subsequently by numerous authors when discussing images on the Internet. 
To provide a permanent record of the child, frozen in time, which is used for masturbating purposes; 
For use as part of the seduction process, to desensitise and sexualise the victims; 
To confirm and validate their belief system; 
To blackmail the victim. The pressure not to disclose is even more intense when the victim is aware a permanent record exists; 
As an item of trade. 
Furthermore there is information available from researchers, which identifies the compulsive nature of many offenders, who go to extraordinary lengths to compile a collection of child abusive images. 
Lanning (1992) suggests that collections are important to the offender and are ‘often a considerable source of loss should the collection be seized’. 
Quayle and Taylor( 2001) further assert that collections are often kept in a secure, permanent way and remain constant, in that ‘images are rarely discarded’ 
Another aspect of collecting is that it leads to an ‘increase in fantasy and sexual activity, particularly masturbation in relation to images or through engaging in mutual fantasies with others while on-line’ (Taylor et al 2001) 
The COPINE (Combating Paedophile Information Networks In Europe) project has also asserted that there tends to be a desensitising process to the images in some cases, leading to the offender seeking ever more deviant images to sustain arousal. They believe that this has led to a change in the type of material being found more recently on the internet; images which more frequently involve younger and younger victims, and those which clearly depict sadistic pain. 
However, some offenders will not seek out the most explicit images; they can be aroused by a picture that would not be deemed indecent in criminal justice terms. It is important that practitioners are aware that these types of offenders operate along a continuum of abusive images. 
Offenders can become quite powerful within their specific on-line community, especially if they have developed good technical skills. Images become a form of currency, and items are traded and swapped. This process further legitimises the interest of child abusive images, and provides some individuals, who may have limited real world social contacts, with a sense of ‘belonging to a community’ where they can be ‘themselves’. 

Online Predators 

RESOURCE: Download Dafna, Wola and Finkelhor's Original Article HERE 

RESOURCE: Download the Table above as a PDF HERE 

Activity:  View the Video Case Study in Prezi. Please note that these are two genuine cases and the case studies contain descriptions of child abuse images. No child abuse images are shown. 

What are the possible motivations driving Peter Watts' offending? Refer to the 4 Factor Framework on the Offender Behaviour Page. 
Peter's motivation is not purely to do with sexual arousal:  
Recall why he had Image 2 - he thought it was what the person he intended to send it to would want. He is in contact with other people who share his sexual interest in children and this meets his affiliation needs. He may attain status within that offending community for the extent and quality of his collection and his ability to obtain images. 
He lives alone but has been attempting to groom children online suggesting thathe experiences BLOCKAGE in appropriate adult relationships and children may be more EMOTIONALLY CONGRUENT for him i.e. he finds it easier to relate to, or engage with children than adults. 
Finally, there are a large number of empty wine bottles in Peter's home and the accommodation is filthy: the alcohol may have a disinhibiting effect on his behaviour, is also a depressive which may exacerbate feelings of loneliness and low self esteem. 
What are the motivating factors driving Gary Clemens' Offending? Refer to the 4 Factor Framework on the Offender Behaviour Page. 
Gary's account of his offending suggests that the nature of the offence (viewing child abuse images that show children being seriously abused and harmed is EMOTIONALLY CONGRUENT for him i.e. it allows him to identify with the aggressor (the abusers in the images) and provides an outlet for his own anger. His inability to deal with frustrarations at work may suggest a degree of BLOCKAGE i.e. an inability to relate appropriately to adults and peers. 
Which of the 2 offending cycles best describes  
A) Peter Watts 
B) Gary Clemens? 
Refer to the Offending Cycles in Prezi on on the Offender Behaviour Page. 
Both men fit the INADEQUATE Offender profile 
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