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Countering Technology-Facilitated Abuse: Criminal Justice Strategies for Combating Nonconsensual Pornography, Sextortion, Doxing, and Swatting

NCJ Number
255058
Date Published
Author(s)
Amanda R. Witwer, Lynn Langton, Michael J. D. Vermeer, Duran Banks, Dulani Woods, Brian A. Jackson
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Publication Type
Grant Report
Annotation
After defining the term “technology-facilitated abuse” (TFA), this report presents the findings of a workshop held in 2019 called Countering Technology-Facilitated Abuse, which discussed the practical, legal, and policy challenges in addressing TFA.
Abstract
This report defines TFA as “acts or courses of conduct facilitated through digital means that compromise the victim’s privacy and causing emotional, physical, and social harm to the victim.” Among the forms of TFA are cyber stalking, non-consensual pornography, and “sextortion.” After discussions, workshop participants identified and prioritized 48 potential strategies for addressing TFA, 21 of which were deemed to be high priority (Tier 1). The high-priority strategies reflect four key themes: 1) implementing public education and TFA prevention efforts; 2) promoting awareness of TFA among criminal justice practitioners; 3) improving criminal justice practices and policies for addressing TFA, and 4) mitigating harm and empowering TFA victims. Regarding criminal justice priorities, the workshop participants noted the lack of both investigative and legal means to address TFA cases effectively. Developing standards and training for the identification, collection, and processing of digital evidence and establishing specialized TFA units would enable law enforcement to conduct thorough investigations of TFA crimes. Instituting statutes specific to TFA behaviors, accompanied by sentencing guidelines that acknowledge the harms to and vulnerabilities of TFA victims, would enable prosecutors to ensure that TFA sentences are commensurate with the harms caused and the services victims receive. 4 figures, 3 tables, and 35 references
Date Created: August 9, 2020