Best Practice in the Management of Online Sex Offending
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Our report sets out the outcomes from reviews of the relevant literature, and a series of consultations held by IWG_OSO, with participation from practitioners and researchers working in the field of child protection and online sex offending.
Online sex offending.
Internationally, researchers and practitioners have documented rises in the scale and impact of online sex offending, including the grooming of minors and vulnerable people for sexual purposes, sexual trafficking, and most dramatically, child sexual exploitation material and the related offences of its possession, production and distribution. Such a ‘high volume crime’ outweighs the capacity for effective management and prevention through the strategies and resources currently being used. This makes prosecution and case management increasingly difficult.
Challenges to good practice.
Without empirically based good practice, professionals are unable to deal effectively with the prevention of online sex offending, risk-management, and treatment decisions. This creates major limitations for the police, courts, probation, child protection, and other services, which are working to protect and safeguard children from online child sexual offenders, and to manage and prevent offending behaviours.
Current issues and possible solutions.
A series of current issues were highlighted, with possible solutions offered by IWG_OSO stakeholders. These included suggestions for changes in: international policy on CSEM offending; working with the internet industry; policing issues; research concerns; risk assessment and treatment developments; inter-agency and multi-disciplinary collaboration; barriers to change; and preventative methods.
- An increase in arresting and prosecuting offenders;
- An increase in earlier interventions and primary and secondary prevention;
- An increase in research to aid risk assessments, treatment options and prevention approaches;
- An increase in international collaboration and consistency in applying learning to policy and practice.
About the IWG_OSO.
The International Working Group for the Prevention of Online Sex Offending (IWG_OSO) was established as a response to the problem of online sexual offending and, in particular, offending involving Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM). IWG_OSO’s initiation was enabled through the patronage of the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (IATSO) in 2014 by a group of practitioners and researchers working in the field of online child sexual abuse and exploitation offending. We look to develop a framework for better offence management and prevention, with our stakeholders including those who work in law enforcement (e.g. INTERPOL and the UK National Crime Agency), the online industry, child protection, and in offender management and treatment services.
Brennan, M. et al. (2019) Best Practice in the Management of Online Sex Offending PEARL Research Repository https://doi.org/10.24382/t2cs-sw55
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