When People Close To Us Behave Immorally, We Are Inclined To Protect Them — Even If Their Crimes Are Particularly Heinous.

Matthew Warren.

Editor’s comment on an article ‘Punish or Protect? How Close Relationships Shape Responses to Moral Violations’ (see link on page) which concerns reactions when someone close to you is under threat. Complex interpersonal dynamics in familial and intimate relationships may affect reactions. https://digest.bps.org.uk/2019/09/30/when-people-close-to-us-behave-immorally-we-are-inclined-to-protect-them-even-if-their-crimes-are-particularly-heinous/

Breaking the Dark Net: Why Police share abuse pics to save children.

Late 2016, Operation Artemis – an undercover police operation carried out by the Australian police unit Task Force Argos in cooperation with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Canadian and European police forces – seized control of ‘Childs play’, the largest child abuse site on the dark web. Access to the site was acquired through the spectacular arrest of the two administrators of the website: a Canadian and a US national. Following the arrest, the child abuse website was moved to Australia, where local laws gave the operation unusually broad authority to use the site for monitoring purposes. For almost a year, Task Force Argos ran the website, posing undercover as the administrators. During that time, they also posted post child abuse material on a regular basis, not to raise suspicion. Operation Artemis started with a clear objective: Identify the victims and their abusers. In doing so, was it necessary to run, and contribute to, a child exploitation forum for nearly a year?

Read VGs exclusive story here:


Child Sexual Abuse: Guidelines on Prosecuting Cases of Child Sexual Abuse.

These guidelines are designed to set out the approach that prosecutors should take when dealing with child sexual abuse cases or all types. The decision to involve the CPS at an early stage is a matter for the police but experience has shown that early CPS involvement can help address some of the evidential or presentational issues that may arise at a later stage of a case. As well as considering the circumstances of child sexual abuse, supporting victims and witnesses, counselling and therapy are included. The credibility of the victim is considered and typical signs of those who are vulnerable to child sexual exploitation, or who have been abused are listed. Issues around sexting are given. The conduct of the trial is outlined.


Sentencing Council Definitive Guideline.

These guidelines apply in England and Wales.

They cover guidelines for the Magistrates Court and for the Crown Court. In the former you can search ‘Sexual Offences’ to obtain a list of such offences. For the Crown Court, the type of offence ‘Sexual Offences’ can be selected from the drop down list. Scroll down the list to find the offence title, click on that for further information.

Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)

MAPPA is the body which brings together police, probation, prison services and other relevant agencies (such as health and housing) to ensure successful management of violent and sexual offenders in the community.

Detailed information about how MAPPA works can be found at: https://mappa.justice.gov.uk/connect.ti/MAPPA/groupHome

Guidance for the professionals (which is also on the MAPPA site above): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/multi-agency-public-protection-arrangements-mappa–2

Internet Watch Foundation


This body work internationally to make the internet a safer place. They invite the public to report images and videos of child sexual abuse anonymously, and search themselves to identify then remove sites. Statistics are given as to the number of sites removed and their locations.

They include the sources used for determining their assessment and removal of content:


The site also covers legal guidelines on the law relating to the internet and assessing images: https://www.iwf.org.uk/what-we-do/how-we-assess-and-remove-content/laws-and-assessment-levels

Computer evidence

Advice is given on the website of Graham Dilloway, a computer expert witness.

The most useful pages might be:

Regarding definitions:


Issues around whether there is specific evidence of a deliberate act:


Misunderstanding by officers of what has been found:http://www.dilloway.co.uk/police-interviews.html

Prosecuting Sexual Offences Report. A Report by JUSTICE.

© JUSTICE 2019.
Chair of the Committee HH Peter Rook QC.

JUSTICE is an all-party law reform and human rights organisation. This Working Party set out to identify where the system could become more efficient (in view of the increasing numbers of offences and the criminal justice system struggling with the workload). However, they actually take a more holistic view. ‘An approach that understands what causes sexual offending and seeks to address this through efforts that prevent crime, divert from prosecution and reduce reoffending, is key’. Prevention through education for both perpetrator and children, voluntary risk management programmes, and how sexual offending may be reduced are examined. Improving witness evidence, and the legal process through to sentencing are considered and a revised approach to Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and notification requirements is recommended. The report’s recommendations are made with the aim of a greater focus on evidence based policies to seek to reduce the level of sexual offending.

Key messages from research on identifying and responding to disclosures of child sexual abuse.

Debra Allnock, Pam Miller and Helen Baker. University of Bedfordshire and NSPCC. September 2019.

This review of research presents different aspects of the impact of disclosure of child abuse by a child, adolescent or adult. The different ways in which children disclose are covered. The mode of communication, may be verba (directly telling or indirectly – by e.g. saying does not want to go somewhere), or non-verbal by actions. Spontaneity or intent may be factors. Children may want teachers to notice signs such as self-harm, eating disorders, acting out in class, and being alone and withdrawn at school.

Disclosure can be traumatic and have both short and long term effects on children’s emotional wellbeing and need to be handled correctly. Some children report feeling ‘relief’ and ‘pride’ after disclosing. However, children also report feeling embarrassment, anger and sadness.

Younger children are more likely to confide in a parent or family member, while adolescents are more likely to confide in a friend or peer. Professionals in universal settings such as health and education are well placed to identify children who are experiencing – or have experienced – abuse and may be trying to communicate this. Teachers are the professionals to whom children most commonly make initial disclosures. Seldom is it to police or social workers.

Professionals should consider appropriate support for children, and their families, in the immediate period following disclosure.