Child abuse and the Internet

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Child abuse and the Internet in the AIFS library catalogue

Combating the sexual exploitation of children for financial gain: activity indicators

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
Chatswood, N.S.W. : AUSTRAC, 2019.
Written for financial service providers, this guide highlights the characteristics of financial transactions that relate to child sexual exploitation. There has been a rise in offenders watching live child sexual abuse over the internet via webcam, and analysis of data has identified some patterns in how the payments to facilitators are made. Information is also presented on the nature and context of live child sexual exploitation. Financial service providers can help law enforcement agencies identify and prosecute child sexual exploitation by detecting suspect transactions and adding to the overall picture of an offence.

Understanding the attitudes and motivations of adults who engage in image-based abuse

Mortreux C, Kellard K, Henry N and Flynn A
Melbourne, Vic. : eSafety Commissioner, 2019.
This report explores the beliefs, motivations and attitudes of adults who have engaged in image-based abuse (IBA) and the range and efficacy of current interventions. Included here is relationship-based abuse, on-sharing intimate images, child exploitation, and taking images of strangers. It investigates why individuals decide to non-consensually capture, distribute or threaten to distribute intimate images; reviews therapeutic intervention programs in Australia that treat, educate or support perpetrators; and looks at front-line professionals' awareness and understanding of IBA behaviour and their views of the efficacy of current therapeutic programs in reducing recidivism. Interviews were conducted with 16 perpetrators and 12 front-line professionals including police, defence lawyers, forensic psychologists, and men's behaviour change program facilitators. The study found that perpetrators demonstrate little remorse and downplay their actions, and many considered sharing images commonplace or were unaware it was against the law. The findings highlight the need for more action to disrupt the normalising culture around image-based abuse and the importance of improving the 'visibility' of IBA in assessment, referral and intervention pathways.

How safe are our children? 2019: an overview of data on child abuse online

Bentley H
London : NSPCC, 2019
"For the past six years our annual 'How safe are our children?' report has compiled and analysed data from across the UK to show the current child protection landscape. This year, for the first time, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have taken on this task, with the first edition of its compendium of child abuse data sources for England and Wales due in winter 2019/20. We have taken this opportunity to refocus our 2019 report on statistics relating to the issue of online abuse. Our 2019 report found: year on year increases in the numbers and rates of police-recorded online child sexual offences in England and Wales and Northern Ireland [and that] less than half of children aged 12 to 15 say they know how to change their settings to control who can view their social media."

Left to their own devices: young people, social media and mental health

Papamichail M and Sharma N
Barkingside U.K. : Barnardo's, 2019.
This report looks at the impact of social media on young people's mental health and wellbeing in the United Kingdom and calls for government action. It outlines current government responses and policies, discusses existing research with children and young people, and presents findings from a new study with 80 practitioners on their views about the beneficial and harmful aspects of social media use on children and young people. Negative aspects identified include the pressure to conform, cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, and child sexual abuse. Though a causal link between social media use and poor mental health and wellbeing cannot be established, this report highlights the negative as well as positive impacts from social media use and that vulnerable children can be affected by social media use differently from other groups of children.

Best practice in the management of online sex offending

International Working Group for the Prevention of Online Sex Offending
Plymouth, U.K. : University of Plymouth, 2019.
"A new report involving over 2,000 experts in online child sex offending has made strong recommendations on how to better prevent the growing problem of child sexual offending on the internet. The report, put together by the International Working Group for the Prevention of Online Sex Offending (IWG_OSO), features input from the National Crime Agency, the NSPCC and the University of Plymouth. It highlights that more public engagement is needed to raise awareness of online sexual offending behaviour, along with closer collaboration between behavioural experts and the online industry, a better balance between punishment and early intervention with potential offenders, and increased primary prevention addressing the underlying causes of offending."

Intentional peer support as a trauma informed response to the partners of perpetrators of child sexual abuse material

Walker N
Acton, A.C.T. : The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia, 2019.
A largely unrecognised group of victims of online child sexual exploitation are the partners, children and close family members of perpetrators, whose impact of learning about the offence is then compounded by how others respond. This study investigated the use of intentional peer support to help these family members, and the role of shame and stigma in their responses. Intentional Peer Support is a trauma-informed framework for peer support developed by Shery Mead that involves building relationships between peers who might have a shared lived experience. Supported by a Winston Churchill Fellowship, the author visited organisations in the United States and New Zealand and reviewed the learnings for the PartnerSPEAK program in Australia.

Child deaths due to abuse or neglect: statistics briefing

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Knowledge and Information Service
London : NSPCC, 2019.
This briefing paper provides an overview of what is known about child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom. It discusses available data sources and their limitations and presents the best estimates available. Though it is not known how many children are sexually abused, surveys of children and adults' self-reported experiences of abuse, and the number of offences recorded by police, help provide insights into the scale of the problem. The paper discusses what is known about child protection data, trends in police data, offences involving online elements, trafficking for sexual exploitation, help seeking, age and gender, and who the perpetrators of this abuse are. An estimated 1 in 20 children in the UK have been abused.

Child abuse and neglect : forensic issues in evidence, impact and management.

Bryce I, Robinson Y and Petherick W
San Diego, USA : Academic Press, 2019.
This text book provides a multi-disciplinary overview of child abuse and neglect. Part one looks at types of child abuse, part two considers impacts and outcomes, and part three looks at responses. Chapters are written by Australian and international authors, and include: Child abuse: types and emergent issues; Intimate partner violence as a form of child abuse; Keeping our eye on sex, power, relationships and institutional contexts in preventing institutional child sexual abuse; Online child sexual abuse; Understanding violent extremism and child abuse: a psychological analysis; Child trafficking: characteristics, complexities and challenge; Gender comparisons of offenders: males and females who sexually offend against children; Forensic victimology assessments in child abuse and neglect cases; Cumulative harm: chronicity, re-victimisation and developmental victimology; The pathological consequences of exposure to domestic and family violence in childhood; Physical punishment and offending in two successive generations; Physical discipline, child abuse and children's rights; Understanding the nature and dimensions of child sexual abuse to inform its prevention; False reports in child abuse and neglect cases; Mandatory reporting: managing disclosure and information gathering; Virtue ethics and good professional judgment in statutory child protection; Decision making guidelines for the child protection intake phase; Eight core principles of neurobiologically-informed interventions for trauma form childhood maltreatment; Understanding childhood maltreatment and subsequent re-victimization: a Singapore perspective; Understanding child maltreatment across ethnic minority communities in Australia: physical abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic and family violence and child sexual abuse; Child abuse and neglect and the judicial system: the limits of legal enterprise; and Public (mis)perceptions of sexual abusers of children and their implications thereof.

Impact of social media and screen-use on young people's health: fourteenth report of Session 2017-19

Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Science and Technology Committee
London : House of Commons, 2019.
In light of growing concerns, this British Inquiry was established to investigate whether the growing use of social media and screens by children and young people is healthy or harmful, and whether any new measures or controls are required. The inquiry drew on consultations with experts and the community as well as children and young people, and considers benefits and risk of harm, resources for schools and parents, and gaps in current regulation. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the inquiry, which is timely considering that the British Government is developing online safety legislation. The first recommendation is that the British Government should commission research into this issue urgently. The inquiry was hindered by the limited quantity and quality of evidence available, in particular on causation rather than association and which groups are at risk. Generally, though, the available evidence suggest that while social media was not the root cause of the risk it does help to facilitate and amplify it. This was particularly apparent in the case of the abuse of children online.

Out-of-home care in Australia: children and young people's views after 5 years of national standards

McDowall J
Parramatta, NSW : CREATE Foundation, 2018.
This report investigates children and young people's views on whether the introduction of the National Standards for Out-of-Home Care has led to improvements in care in Australia. The Standards were introduced in 2011 to foster a similar base level of support across the states and territories. The CREATE Foundation conducted an initial national survey of children and young people in 2012, followed by a government survey in 2015. This report presents findings from a new 2018 survey, and as such reviews the impact of the standards after 5 years of operation. 1,275 children and young people aged 10-17 years old were asked about their experiences of life in care, including placement stability, satisfaction with placement, interactions with care workers, sources of support, case planning, knowledge of family and case history, participation in decision making, connection to culture, leisure activities and the internet, contact with family and friends, health, service usage, education and educational planning and support, bullying, feedback and complaints, and transition to independence. Comparisons are included for type of care placement and jurisdiction. This report provides insights into the strengths and limitations of the out of home care system, as well as what children and young people in care value and need. The survey found that 81% of respondents felt quite happy in their current placement, and that 93% felt safe and secure. Particular issues identified include barriers to involvement in decision making, the lack of support available in residential placements, and the need for better preparation for the transition to independence.

Behaviour and characteristics of perpetrators of online-facilitated child sexual abuse and exploitation: a rapid evidence assessment : final report

DeMarco J
London : Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2018.
To assist their work in the United Kingdom, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has commissioned three studies into online-facilitated child sexual abuse. This report presents the findings of one study, which investigated what is known about the behaviour and characteristics of perpetrators, drawing largely on research from the United Kingdom. It presents the findings of a rapid evidence assessment, with topics including how perpetrators use particular technologies, how the availability of these technologies influence perpetrators' behaviour, how perpetrators identify and target potential victims on different forums, the key safeguarding challenges for institutions, children who perpetrate online-facilitated sexual abuse against peers, the relationship between internet-only offences and contact offences, pathways into offending, and the role of sexting or self-generated material in sexual solicitation, exploitation, extortion, and abuse. Gaps in the evidence are also identified.

Rapid evidence assessment: quantifying the extent of online-facilitated child sexual abuse

Wager N
London : Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, 2018.
To assist their work in the United Kingdom, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has commissioned three studies into online-facilitated child sexual abuse. This report presents the findings of one study, which investigated what is known about the scale of this abuse. It presents the findings of a rapid evidence assessment into what current measures and data sources could contribute to quantifying the scale of online-facilitated child sexual abuse and what these measures and data sources say about the extent of this abuse. The range of behaviours that fall under the definition of online-facilitated child sexual abuse is very diverse and growing continuously, and includes online grooming, being exposed to pornography, sexting, and exchanging or producing online images. There are essentially four ways in which this abuse can be measured, by counting the number of offences committed, the number of perpetrators, the number of victims, or the number of images that have been viewed, downloaded, and exchanged. Though the review found that the online world is safe for most young people, there are gaps in the current understanding of the scale of this abuse which restricts the accurate assessment.

How safe are our children?: the most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK - 2018

Bentley H
London : NSPCC, 2018
This series from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children collates the latest statistics on child abuse and safety from England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Information is provided against 20 indicators: child homicides recorded by police (includes murder, manslaughter, and infanticide); child mortality (deaths by assault and undetermined intent); child suicides; number of recorded sexual offences against children; number of recorded cruelty and neglect offences; self-reported prevalence of abuse and neglect; contacts with ChildLine; contacts with the NSPCC helpline; online harm; violent incidents experienced by 10 to 15 year olds; referrals accepted by social services; children in need; children in the child protection system; composition of child protection plans and child protection registers; re-registration onto child protection registers (returning to a child protection plan); how long children are subject to child protection plans or on the child protection register; looked-after children; proportion of looked-after children who have three or more placements during the year; child trafficking; and public attitudes to child abuse and neglect. Each indicator is presented in terms of trends, data sources, the importance of the measure, and strengths and weaknesses of the data, and overall measurement and definitions issues are also discussed. This edition presents the latest information available in 2018. A particular issue are the risks posed by new technology - children are increasingly using social media and are likewise being exposed to the risks of grooming and abusive material. In response, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children calls for statutory regulation on social media sites.

Trends in online child sexual exploitation: examining the distribution of captures of live-streamed child sexual abuse

Internet Watch Foundation
Cambridge, UK : Internet Watch Foundation, 2018.
This report provides insights into the nature of live-streamed child sexual abuse and the online distribution of image 'captures' from these live streams. An analysis was undertaken of 2,082 images and videos of captures from live-streamed child sexual abuse available in 2017, to learn more how and where these images are distributed, the nature and content of the images, the severity of the abuse, and whether methods of creation and distribution, the characteristics of the individuals depicted, or the category of the sexual activity depicted varied by the child's age. The report concludes with recommendations for disrupting or preventing distribution.

Towards a global indicator on unidentified victims in child sexual exploitation material: technical report

International Criminal Police Organization, ECPAT International
Bangkok : ECPAT International, 2018.
This report provides insights into online child sexual exploitation material, as a first step in understanding the extent of online abuse and the way children are being exploited. It analyses images and videos stored by INTERPOL in the International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) Database, which is an investigative tool containing media seized by law enforcement around the globe and used as evidence in criminal enquiries. The material was categorised and analysed to better understand patterns of offending and victimisation, the extent of child sexual abuse material and child sexual exploitation material on the Internet, how many unidentified victims exist, and demographic data relating to children and their abusers, such as location and the approximate age of the children involved. The findings confirm disturbing anecdotal reports on the link between the age of the victim and the severity of abuse: when victims were younger, the abuse was more likely to be extreme ? and often on an industrial scale. A summary version is also available.

Trends in online child sexual abuse material

ECPAT International
Bangkok : ECPAT International, 2018.
This report provides insights into recent and changing trends in the online sexual exploitation of children, including the nature and content of abusive material, victim characteristics, production and distribution, and characteristics of offenders. Eighteen analysts and law enforcement experts from EUROPOL, INTERPOL, and child hotlines were interviewed, and terminology, data collection, detection, reporting, intervention, and policing issues were also raised. Interviewees spoke of offenders' deft exploitation of new technologies, and the decrease in age - and the increase in severity of abuse - of children being victimised. Prevalence is near impossible to measure, and though reporting rates are up, the volume of material far outstrips law enforcement's ability to fully investigate, measure, or analyse this crime.

Online safety

Child Family Community Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018.
Written for service providers and other professionals, this paper provides an introduction to online safety for families. It will help professionals support families and discuss ways to keep children and young people safe online. Topics include: Internet use; What is online safety and why is it important?; Office of the eSafety Commissioner; The significance of being 13 years old; Practical tips for parents to help children and young people use the internet; and Resources and campaigns.

Online grooming of children for sexual purposes: model legislation & global review

Koons Family Institute on International Law and Policy, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
Alexandria, VA : International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, 2017.
"Prompted by the increasing number of cases of online grooming of children and relative lack of awareness of the growing issue, this original report analyzes legislation related to the online grooming of children for sexual purposes in 196 countries around the world. The report includes sections regarding definitions; offenses; and sanctions and sentencing, followed by an overview of related regional and international law, a discussion of implementation and good initiatives, and a global review of country-specific legislation that evaluates national legislation against 5 core criteria."

Online child sexual exploitation offenders: a study of Australian law enforcement data

Krone T, Smith R, Cartwright J, Hutchings A, Tomison A and Napier S
Canberra, A.C.T. : Criminology Research Grants Program, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2017.
This study investigates people who use online child exploitation material go on to offend in person, and whether there are any factors associated with a transition from online to offline offending. It analyses the files of 152 convicted child sex offenders investigated by the Australian Federal Police specialist Child Protection Operations unit between 1 March 2005 and 31 December 2011. All offenders in the sample were men; most were Caucasian, and most were aged between 46 and 55 years old. The study investigates whether there is any relationship between the use of online child exploitation material, online grooming, and contact offending against children, how different types of exploitative material are used in grooming, and whether this is associated with the commission of further child sex offences. It aims to identify what level of risk online offenders pose for reoffending or escalation to more severe offending by examining their offending trajectories to determine if any features distinguished those offenders with more extensive convictions from those without. This study confirms the results of other research that indicates offenders can be divided into child exploitation material-only offenders and dual offenders involved in child exploitation material and either grooming offences or contact offences.

Final report

Jones S
Brisbane, Qld. : Dept. of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, 2017.
The 2012, the Queensland Government commissioned the Smallbone report to investigate some of the key characteristics of endemic abuse against children and young people in the West Cairns and Auruku Indigenous communities and propose how it could be addressed. Following on from that report, the Queensland Government established the Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee to build upon that work. Their 2016 first report focused again on West Cairns and Auruku and examined improving service effectiveness, awareness raising, and resourcing. This final report extends those findings to examine the situation across the state for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and young people and makes recommendations that aim to create both immediate and long-term change. It analyses the reported incidence of youth sexual violence and abuse in Queensland, considers the links with disadvantage, discusses how the silence that surrounds abuse is a major obstacle to intervention, discusses the impact of advancements in communication technology on risks and intervention opportunities, and considers the structural and systemic changes needed to ensure that no child is left behind.

Everyone deserves to be happy and safe: a mixed methods study exploring how online and offline child sexual abuse impact young people and how professionals respond to it

Hamilton-Giachritsis C
London : NSPCC, 2017.
This study explores the impact of sexual abuse on young people - whether in person or online - with the aim of informing support services in the United Kingdom. A particular focus is comparing the prevalence and impact of online and 'offline' abuse, and how digital technology assists in the initiation, maintenance, and escalation of abuse. The study draws on interviews and surveys with young people aged 15 to 19 years old, regarding the nature of sexual abuse experienced, abuse in childhood or in adolescence, technology-assisted child sexual abuse, sharing images and blackmail, the impact of sexual abuse, coping styles, how digital technology within abuse contributes to impact, views on prevention and intervention, and advice for other young people. Professionals in the sector were also interviewed, regarding their understanding of the term 'online sexual abuse' and their perceptions of young people's support needs following technology-assisted abuse. The report concludes with recommendations for prevention, intervention, and professional training.

Classification of child exploitation material for sentencing purposes: final report

Queensland. Sentencing Advisory Council
Brisbane, Qld : Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council, 2017.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has asked the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council to review the classification of child exploitation material for sentencing purposes and determine whether any improvements can be made. Accessing, distributing and producing child exploitation material is internationally recognised as a thriving technology-enabled criminal activity beyond conventional state and national boundaries, responsive to ongoing improvements in the capacity and reach of technology. This report presents the Council's findings and recommendations. The review drew on consultations with agencies and professionals in the criminal justice system - here and overseas - and an analysis of administrative data collected in Queensland. The report describes the current approach to classifying such material in Queensland, outlines what is known about offending and offenders, compares Queensland's approach to that of other jurisdictions, and in conclusion proposes a new approach for classifying child exploitation material for sentencing purposes - referred to as the Q-CEM Package.

Civil penalties regime for non-consensual sharing of intimate images: discussion paper

Australia. Dept. of Communications and the Arts
Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Communications and the Arts, 2017.
The Australian Government is inviting public feedback on a proposed civil penalty regime for the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. 'Non-consensual sharing of intimate images' refers to the sharing or distribution by electronic service of an image or video of a person or persons portrayed in a sexual or otherwise intimate manner, which may have been obtained with or without the consent of the person and has been shared without consent, and includes 'revenge pornography' and the 'image-based abuse' of children. The Government is looking at establishing a new prohibition at the Commonwealth level, alongside a civil regime designed to deter and penalise persons and content hosts and additional powers for the Children's eSafety Commissioner. This paper discusses the issues and invites feedback on how a proposed civil penalty regime might best complement existing regulation, how it might be framed, definitions of key terms and behaviours, and how the Commissioner might enforce the civil penalty regime. The consultation period closes at the end of June 2017.

Behind the screen: online child exploitation in Australia

Anti-Slavery Australia (Organization)
Broadway, N.S.W. : Anti-Slavery Australia, 2017.
Online child exploitation crimes - from online grooming and procurement to the production and dissemination of images of child abuse - is an increasing and global issue. This report investigates the situation in Australia, including prevalence, the legislative framework, sentencing, internet service providers, trafficking and slavery, characteristics and motivations of offenders, and key domestic and international agencies. It draws on interviews, prosecution statistics, and case reports, and makes recommendations for further areas of research.

Kids Helpline insights 2016: insights into young people in Australia.

Yourtown (Organization)
Brisbane, Qld. : yourtown, 2017
Kids Helpline is a counselling service for Australian children and young people aged between 5 and 25 years, providing 24 hour support by phone, email, and website. This magazine-style publication highlights the work of Kids Helpline, introduces some new initiatives, and summarises findings from an analysis of 2016 data

Kids Helpline insights 2016: national statistical overview - insights into young people in Australia.

Yourtown (Organization)
Brisbane : yourtown, 2017.
Kids Helpline is a counselling service for Australian children and young people aged between 5 and 25 years. It provides support 24 hours a day, with access by phone, email, or the website, as well as the Kids Helpline @ School program. This report provides insights into the clients of the service and the issues that concern them. It presents 2016 data on service demand, client characteristics, client needs and concerns, client communication preferences, referral to specialist services, and client satisfaction and impact. The report also explains the scope and focus of Kids Helpline's work and its role in supporting and protecting young Australians, both at an individual and systemic level. Of the 181,165 contacts responded to by the service in 2016, 177,591 were known to be from children and young people. Of these, 75% were answered by phone, 17% by web chat, and 8% by email.

Internet policy and Australia's Northern Territory Intervention.

Rennie E, Goldenfein J and Thomas J
Internet Policy Review v. 6 no. 1 2017
The Federal Government's Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) aimed to combat abuse and violence in remote Indigenous communities through sweeping and wide-ranging reforms. One little known measure - aimed at targeting pornography - was the surveillance of publicly funded computers and internet use, with providers of internet and computer access facilities required to audit and record computer use during the intervention period of 2007 to 2012. This article examines the legal and policy dimensions of this measure, drawing on interviews, published materials, and internal documents.

Trajectories in online child sexual exploitation offending in Australia

Krone T and Smith R
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Criminology, 2017.
It is critical to understand whether online child sexual exploitation (CSE) offenders are, or may become, either repeat online offenders or contact CSE offenders. A number of studies have been conducted overseas on the offending trajectories of online CSE offenders - this report presents the findings of the first study in Australia. This exploratory study examines data relating to 152 offenders investigated by the Australian Federal Police and convicted of online child sexual exploitation offences under Australian Commonwealth law, to determine how online forms of child sexual exploitation and offline child sexual exploitation or contact offending are related. The majority of offenders in this study appeared to commit only online offences, although in a minority of cases there was a connection between exploitative material, grooming and contact offending.

Online child exploitation material: trends and emerging issues

Maxim D, Orlando S, Skinner K and Broadhurst R
Rochester, N.Y. : Social Science Research Network, Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc., 2016.
This report reviews the literature on the problem of online child sex abuse and child exploitation material, looking at trends and emerging issues, developments in the methods used by offenders, what is known about the victims most at risk, the responses of law enforcement and regulators, new and emerging threats, the relationship between online and offline offending, and current regulatory, educational and collaborative approaches to combatting CEM in Australia and overseas. The report highlights gaps in the research evidence, and describes new developments in the areas of live streaming, applications, online gaming, hacking, and user-generated content. This review was undertaken by interns at the ANU Cybercrime Observatory.

ThinkUKnow corporate report 2015-16

Australian Federal Police
Canberra, ACT : Australian Federal Police, 2016
The ThinkUKnow cyber safety education program - developed in the United Kingdom - was introduced in Australia in 2009 and is coordinated by the Australian Federal Police in collaboration with industry and law enforcement partners. ThinkUKnow aims to empower every Australian to be safe, respectful and resilient online by providing free, volunteer-led educational presentations to parents, teachers and carers. This report describes the activities and achievements of the program in 2015-16. Highlights are provided on awareness and engagement, evaluation, partnerships, and volunteers.
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