top of page


5 Dec, 2023

CSA Prevention



IMG_7192 sqare.jpg


15:15 - 16:45



Opening address- The European Union

The European Union’s commitment to fight child sexual abuse at a global scale


Salla Huikuri, Finnish Ministry of the Interior

Preventing child sexual abuse material offending: An international review of initiatives

Lead Author

Alexandra Gannoni, Australian Institute of Criminology

Co-authors: Alexandra Voce, Sarah Napier Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is a harmful crime associated with a range of adverse outcomes for victims who experience both contact child sexual abuse (CSA) and re-victimisation relating to the ongoing viewing and distribution of their abuse material. Given the dramatic decrease in CSAM reports made by electronic service providers such as Meta in recent years, there is a crucial need for interventions that aim to prevent viewing, production and distribution of CSAM. Recently, focus has been placed on initiatives aiming to prevent onset to CSA/CSAM offending or escalation to more chronic and severe offending. Examples of such initiatives available overseas include Stop It Now! in the UK, the Netherlands and the US, and Prevent It in Sweden. With many new initiatives being developed to address these harmful sexual crimes against children, it is important to keep stakeholders informed on availability of programs in specific countries and evidence of effectiveness. In this paper, we first describe the range and type of prevention initiatives for CSAM offending (many of which also focus on CSA) across a wide range of organisations in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Secondly, we review the evidence on the implementation and effectiveness available on relevant initiatives in preventing or reducing CSAM and CSA offending, as well as other measures of success. Information was drawn from website searches, a large-scale literature review and an expert international project advisory group. Findings can help inform the development and implementation of future best practice prevention strategies.

Group 9.png

Development of child sexual abuse prevention education for tertiary students

Lead Author

Rita Shackel, University of Sydney

Co-author: Judy Cashmore Research supports school-based child sexual abuse prevention programs catering to children, parents and caregivers. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in its Final Report (December 2017), however, recognised the importance of more widespread child protection education recommending that the national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse should encompass a range of complementary initiatives including: Accordingly, prevention education in the tertiary setting is increasingly being recognised (albeit slowly) as an important site to inform, correct misconceptions and foster necessary change in the attitudes of professionals, and the culture of institutions. Such reform of attitudes and culture is essential for the prevention of child sexual abuse across society. Child protection education has long been mandatory in select professional degrees in Australia and overseas e.g. in teaching, nursing, and medicine. This paper will discuss recent work at The University of Sydney, which has investigated the use of child protection education material in all its courses including those not generally considered including dentistry and IT. The aim is to identify strengths and weaknesses, and formulate a strategy for embedding more effective child sexual abuse prevention education in its programs and across the higher education sector. Our discussion will explore the challenges in design and delivery of child sexual abuse prevention education in a tertiary setting and present some initial ideas for developing best-practice guidelines and principles.

Rita Shackel.png


Investigatory methods and approaches: Examining web-based content

The archaeology of DarkNet child exploitation forums: Decloaking the offenders

Lead Author

Warren Bulmer, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children

Co-author: Claudio Diaz The key to identifying or deanonymising Darknet offenders is to analyse where they have been, not where they are now. Multiple methods are effective, and the starting point is derived from looking through and analysing seized Darknet forums in the possession of law enforcement. The data interrogation involves the deconfliction of usernames, email addresses, passwords or other profile-based information these offenders use to establish their status within the forum. The second process is to study the posts shared as a whole, but equally important isolating posts by specific users. The persona they portray tells us much about their sexual preferences or deviant behaviours towards children. They often accomplish this by the links to material they share with their peers within the group. These links can be self-produced material of their offending or it can provide intelligence on their connection to another producer. The third procedure involves analysing the private messages each user has exchanged with another forum user(s). The behaviours seen in the private messages can be quite different than their public presence within the posts. Frequently, there is a rapport created between some of these users and even though they are acutely aware of the rules surrounding anonymity in the Darknet, some choose to share personal information or stories about who they really are. Additionally, there can be an exchange of other identities they use in or outside of the Darknet. This paper will highlight a real case study using a recently seized Darknet forum to demonstrate the technical analysis and intelligence processes that were used to demystify that Darknet offenders are not undefeatable. The analysis and applied processes involved a variety of technologies, data science procedures, investigative expertise and open-source tools.

Group 18.png

Using digital forensic artefacts to examine perpetrators of online child sexual abuse material offending

Lead Author

Arjan Blokland, Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement

Co-authors: Anton Daser, Meike de Boer, Colm Gannon, Frederic Gnielka, Salla Huikuri, Robert Lehmann, Rebecca Reichel, Alexander Schmidt, Katarzyna Staciwa Among the ‘hidden services’ offered by the dark web that can be accessed through the TOR browser, are forum websites dedicated to the barter of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). While CSAM offending is not a new offense, the accessibility and anonymity offered by the dark web has fuelled the formation of online CSAM communities of an unprecedented scale. Members register to these forums to view and exchange CSAM, but also to socially interact with like-minded individuals, creating a social dimension to CSAM offending. While the dark web and TOR browser effectively cloak the identity of forum users, their online behaviour does leave digital footprints, or artefacts, that can be used to examine their online behaviors. The ARICA project is dedicated to assessing risk factors of online child sexual abuse. Here, we use digital forensic artefacts from several dark web CSAM forums to gain further insight the workings of these forums, and the behavioural patterns of its members. More specifically, we examine longitudinal, relational, and linguistic aspects of forum members’ behaviour, using tools from criminal career research, social network analysis, and forensic linguistics.

Group 17.png

Identifying key players in a network of child exploitation websites using Principal Component Analysis

Lead Author

Richard Frank, Simon Fraser University

Co-author: Fateme Movahedi One of the main objectives of this study is to help prioritize targets for law enforcement by analyzing online websites hosting child exploitation material and finding key players within. Key players are defined as the websites which display a combination of high connectivity and a lot of hardcore material and would provide the most disruption in a network if they were to be removed. In this study, various strategies based on Principal Component Analysis are presented to identify those nodes that act as the key players in an online child exploitation network. For evaluating the results of these strategies, we consider the results of various attack strategies. The measures for evaluation are the density, clustering coefficient, average path length, diameter and the number of connected components in the resulted network. The results show that the strategies proposed are more successful at reducing all of the outcome measures than existing strategies.

Group 16.png

13:15 - 14:45

New perspectives on offending: Patterns and Pathways

Accessing indecent images of children: Pathways to offending and offender modus operandi

Lead Author

Richard Wortley, University of Waikato & University College London

Co-authors: Donald Findlater, Alex Bailey, Dana Zuhair, Bernardita Valdes The overwhelming bulk of research examining indecent images of children (IIOC) offenders has focused on their demographic and psychological characteristics. The argument developed in this presentation is that, given that only a tiny fraction of offenders are arrested, research on online IIOC needs to focus more on what offenders do as opposed to who they are. This presentation reports the results of self-report study on 75 convicted IIOC offenders focussing on their pathways to offending and the offending strategies they employ. Specific issues covered included: how and where they first encountered IIOC; how their offending progressed; the search terms they use; where they locate IIOC online; the devices they use; the locations and times of their offending; situational triggers for offending; how they go about establishing connections with other offenders; security strategies they employ to avoid detection; and things that trigger or discourage their offending behaviour. Understating the offending strategies and patterns of offenders can inform prevention efforts aimed at blocking, discouraging and disrupting their behaviour.

Group 15.png

The overlap between accessing child sexual abuse material and extremist content online

Lead Author

Timothy Cubitt, Australian Institute of Criminology

The rapid increase in the amount of child sexual abuse material available and shared online has become a major focus of governments and law enforcement, simultaneously there is growing concern about the role of online extremist content in the radicalisation of at-risk individuals. An emerging body of research addresses the co-occurring access of these types of content online, and the characteristics individuals who do so. In December 2022, the Australian Institute of Criminology undertook a survey of 13,302 online Australians. This survey collected information about respondents’ sociodemographic characteristics, type and frequency of online engagement including the use of different platforms, experience of recent and early life stressors, political beliefs, and ideological and conspiratorial views. Pivotally, this survey also asked whether respondents had accessed radical or extremist content online (n=5,509) or child sexual abuse material online (n=577), and whether they had been accessed intentionally (n=1,337 and n=99, respectively). Analyses of these data suggest that respondents who accessed child sexual abuse material online were more likely to have accessed extremist content online, and vice versa. This presentation will explore the characteristics of respondents who accessed extremist content, and of those who access child sexual abuse material online, and the degree of overlap between these groups. Online platforms used by respondents will be considered alongside features of online activity that may increase exposure to both forms of content. Finally, the sociodemographic features, and online behaviours of respondents will be analysed to understand the characteristics of those who separately access child sexual abuse material or extremist content, and those who access both of these types of content online.

Group 14.png

Viewing child sexual abuse material for the first time: Findings from an anonymous survey of Internet users

Lead Author

Sarah Napier, Australian Institute of Criminology

Recent evidence suggests that reports of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) detected on popular online platforms has grown exponentially in the last decade. This study analysed data from an anonymous non-representative online survey of 5,512 adults of all ages and genders in five different countries, to ask about first exposure to CSAM. A total of 742 (13.5%) survey participants self-reported viewing CSAM; 77% were male, 19.5% were female and 3.5% identified as another gender. Most respondents first discovered the CSAM and atypical adult pornography (BDSM or bestiality) before they were 18 years. Results from survival analysis indicated a significant difference between age of first CSAM exposure across age cohorts (p

Group 13.png

Supporting victims, practitioners & law enforcement

Developing Australia’s first Minimum Practice Standards for Specialist Services Responding to Child Sexual Abuse

Lead Author

Amanda Paton, University of South Australia

The impacts of child sexual abuse are often pervasive and lifelong, affecting the individual, family, and broader community leading to victims/survivors engaging in a range of specialist and community support services. Unfortunately they readily face barriers when seeking help and frequently report that services fail to provide trauma-informed, accessible, inclusive and culturally-safe responses. The Australian Government, National Office for Child Safety commissioned the Australian Centre for Child Protection to lead the development of Australia’s first ever Minimum Practice Standards. The Standards were developed via an evidence informed co-design approach, including: broad literature review, large workshop-style consultation, surveys, interviews, and discussions across Australia to identify broad parameters. As the Standards took shape, various draft versions were also consulted upon. Feedback was sought from multiple sources so that practice, cultural, and lived experience wisdom contributed equally to the Standards alongside the literature. The final Standards endorsed by state, territory and federal government were shaped by, those with a lived experience of child sexual abuse; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (including Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and peak bodies); government and non-government organisations providing services; state, territory and Commonwealth agencies and representatives; and subject matter experts. Underpinned by three overarching Core Values – Victim and Survivor Centred, Trauma-Informed, and Culturally Safe, there are six Standards each with several indicators; 1.Promotion of safety and self-determination, 2.Accessible and inclusive services, 3.Holistic and integrated responses, 4.Experience, research, and practice informed way of working, 5.Skilled and supported workforce and 6.Effective organisational governance.

Group 12.png

Victims and survivors’ views of sexual violence perpetrator post-custodial measures: Results from a national survey

Lead Author

Jodi Death, Queensland University of Technology

Kelly Richard, Michael Chataway, Chris Emzin, Carol Ronken, Rebekah Chapman Individuals who perpetrate sexual harm are one of the fastest-growing groups of prisoners across Australia. An array of measures – from sex offender registers to Circles of Support and Accountability – has been introduced in an attempt to reintegrate and manage sexual offenders at the inevitable conclusion of their prison sentences, and to limit the risk they pose of reoffending in the community. Despite being key stakeholders, victims and survivors of sexual violence have not been included in the development of programs/responses to reducing offending, nor asked for their views about these various measures, what they suggest offenders might need during the period of transition from prison to the community, or what victims and survivors themselves might need at this time. It is vital to capture the views of victims and survivors, as they have unique insights into what might strengthen community safety, what might best support offenders to reintegrate into the community and desist from sexual offending, as well as what victim and survivor needs are and how these could be met. This paper presents results from the first survey globally that examines victims and survivors’ views about these post-custodial measures. In particular, the survey results differentiate the needs and views of victims and survivors of adult sexual violence from those of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. Designed and administered by a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including First Nations researchers, the survey results provide a much-needed insight into victims and survivors’ views of post-custodial measures that can be used to shape such measures in future.

Group 11.png

Rolling out the red carpet: Non-offending partners and affected family members as important allies in disruption

Lead Author

Natalie Walker, PartnerSPEAK

PartnerSPEAK is a unique specialist agency which provides peer support and advocacy to the non-offending partners (NOP) and affected family members (AFM) of perpetrators of child sexual abuse (CSA) and online child sexual exploitation (OSEC). PartnerSPEAK invited investigators who work in child sexual abuse (mostly OSEC) in all jurisdictions of Australia to participate in an anonymous, online survey. There were 48 respondents from Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and local LEA (law enforcement agencies). This paper presents the findings and recommendations from this survey. Investigators across Australia report that responding to families is more personally distressing to them than viewing OSEC. In the survey, 90% of respondents indicated that they worry about the impact of the investigation on AFM. This paper explores, how does providing support for NOP/AFM also support investigators and, in turn, enhance disruption capabilities? In regards to families directly assisting with disruption, 90% of investigators stated they had direct experience of an AFM providing information at the time of warrant. Examples that investigators gave about the impact of collaborating with NOP/AFM were very compelling including our highest driver for disruption: “The identification of further victims.” Investigators also experience AFM providing names of other children the offender has access to, assistance with identifying children, advising law enforcement of subsequent disclosures from children and providing information about the likelihood of the suspect to comply with bail conditions. This paper identifies the opportunities for LEA and other practitioners to harness their approaches to AFM in a way that supports families, supports investigators and supports the disruption of child sexual abuse.

Group 10.png

Closing remarks

Perspectives on Offending
Investigatory Methods
Supporting Victims, et al.

Child sexual abuse prevention initiatives

4 December Agenda
bottom of page