Tackling child sexual abuse (2/5): The internet

In the second of five blogs on her work, Juliet Grayson talks about how the internet may be used to offend. Online offences are on the rise, and they can take many different forms, such as talking to children or viewing child pornography. The latter is divided into two groups. First, there are the fantasy-driven people who seek climax from online engagement and might share images. Some will tempt the child to engage in sexual activity as they watch on a webcam. On the other side, there are others who are contact-driven and want to have a sexual encounter offline. However, there might be some overlap. Making arrangements, for instance, enhances the meeting’s imagination. While most people will proceed once a meeting has been scheduled, some will schedule these meetings with no intention of moving through.


Online Sexual Grooming

The NSPCC has released figures from a Freedom of Information request to police forces in England and Wales which show that there were at least 4,373 offences of sexual communication with a child recorded in the year to April 2019 compared with 3,217 in the previous year; where age was provided, One in five victims were aged 11 or younger; and the number of recorded instances of the use of Instagram was more than double that of the previous year.

Article: Recorded online sexual grooming crimes rise by a third

Disclosure on Child Sexual Abuse

The Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (CSA Centre) has published key messages from research on disclosures of child sexual abuse. Findings include: disclosure is best understood as a process which is influenced by relationships and may extend over a considerable period of time; rates of verbal disclosure are low at the time that abuse occurs; children say they are trying to disclose their abuse when they show signs or act in ways that they hope adults will notice; teachers are the professionals to whom children will most commonly disclose; and certain children may face additional barriers to disclosure.

Read the blog: Don’t wait for them to tell us: recognising and responding to signs of child sexual abuse

Need for more discussion around paedophilia in order to prevent child sex abuse

Virtuous Paedophiles (VP) is introduced and a number of recommendations for addressing situations where a person admits to being attracted to children are given.“I’d say first not to panic, and to remember this is the same person you’ve known all along, with all their complexity and good points. It’s something they didn’t choose and can’t change, and telling you is a big risk they are taking.” Ethan, from VP, thus suggests gently trying to find out if the person is abusing children or thinks they might be in serious danger of doing so as this calls for action to stop it immediately or prevent it from happening. “Calling police is usually not the best first step, as it sets in motion a highly invasive process that can easily make everything worse. Research the laws and procedures in your area before revealing anything.”

It is crucial to have a conversation about paedophilia and the lack of resources and services available to paedophiles in Australia. Increased awareness and understanding of paedophilia is important in order to remove the stigma associated with an indiscriminate mental disorder. A discussion about the inadequacy of services available to paedophiles is absolutely beneficial, especially when it can prevent child sex abuse.

Massive miscarriage of justice

Back in 2002 Operation Ore, a police investigation in the USA started into people accessing online child pornography sites. The information came from the use of credit cards. However, after many convictions and the lives and families being destroyed, the evidence showed that many of those convicted weren’t paedophiles at all. They were victims of straightforward online credit card fraud.