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Improving the Response to Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation Materials: A Multi-Method, Multi-Informant National Study

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,491,313)

Problem statement: This study will improve knowledge about the impact on child victims of child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM). Special attention will be given to the impact on victims of the investigation and justice system management of these crimes. It will also seek to identify best practices in law enforcement and victim treatment.

Subjects: Study participants will come from multiple sources: young adult victims of CSEM recruited through a national online panel survey and via social media recruitment. Other participants include forensic interviewers and clinicians who work with CSEM victims; law enforcement investigators who investigate CSEM cases; commanders of Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Forces who oversee CSEM investigation policies, and Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) directors, who oversee CSEM treatment policies.

Partnerships: The Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, has a 20-year long track record of research on CSEM, the most extensive of any center in the country.  One partner, the National Criminal Justice Training Center at Fox Valley Technical College, conducts national training for CSEM investigators. A second partner, the National Children’s Alliance, certifies the CACs, which treat many victims.

Research design and methods: There are six data collection components to the project: 1) a national population-based survey of CSEM victims (N=200-400); 2) a supplemental social media recruitment survey of CSEM victims from the sex and gender minority population (SGM) (SGM N=500; non-SGM N=500); 3) a national survey of clinicians and forensic interviewers who work with CSEM victims (N=500); 4) a national study of cases of CSEM victimization investigated by police (N=500); 5) interviews with Commanders of the ICAC Task Forces (N=61); and 6) a national survey of CAC directors (N=400). Findings will result in multiple perspectives on practices and policies.

Analysis: Analyses will address the harms reported by victims from different forms of CSEM, help-seeking efforts and their outcomes, the range of practices used by law enforcement responders and their outcomes, and the range of measures used by clinicians and forensic interviewers.  A panel including survivors and other experts will distill recommendations for future practice.

Products, reports, and data archiving: 1) A final report including an executive summary suitable for a non-technical audience; 2) A minimum of three practitioner-friendly reports highlighting study findings; 3) A minimum of three articles published in peer-reviewed, scientific journals; and 4) Archived datasets and documents submitted to the NACJD.

Date Created: October 25, 2021