Summary. This study is designed to help law enforcement combat technology-facilitated child exploitation crimes. It will gather detailed national data on a number of policy and practice relevant topics including: 1) new developments and numerical trends in cases coming to law enforcement attention; 2) what investigative strategiesare associated with more favorable outcomes; 3) what challenges and dilemmas confront prosecutors; 4) what indicators and investigative procedures are more likely to identify child pornography offenders who have also committed crimes against or endangered children in their environments; and 5) how investigators are managing and responding to cases of sexual images produced and disseminated byyouth. The data will be gathered using a proven, successful methodology, a 2stage survey of a national sample of law enforcement agencies that will include interviews with investigators and prosecutors involved in a representative sample of more than 1000 technologyfacilitated crimes. N-JOV-3 is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention sourced from Recovery Act funds.Background
The domain of technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation (CSE) crimes has been characterized by 2 features: rapid growth and changing dynamics. In terms of growth, in 2000 there were an estimated 2,577 arrests for technology-facilitated CSE crimes of all types. By 2006, the number of arrests had almost tripled to 7,010. Arrests of online predators (i.e., sex offenders who used theInternet or related technologies to meet victims) increased more than threefold between 2000 and 2006. In addition to the rapid growth in numbers of cases, new offender tactics have emerged. An example is the increasing use of video. While webcams were rare in 2000, among offenders arrested in 2006 for online predation against actual youth, 27% used video communications to interact with victims. Thereis an urgent need for research to help the criminal justice system deal with such a rapid growth and a swiftly changing environment, whose dynamics are not always conspicuous or easy to track. Most of the available research knowledge about technology-facilitated CSE crimes comes from the 1st and 2nd National Juvenile Online Victimization studies (NJOV-1 and NJOV2), conducted by the CCRC. Thesestudies include information about trends in the incidence of arrests for technology-facilitated CSE between 2000 and 2006 and describe the dynamics of crimes and characteristics of offenders and victims. These two studies provide detailed descriptions of crimes ending in arrest that involve online predation, technology-facilitated CSE by family members and acquaintances of victims, undercover“sting” operations, child pornography (CP) production, and CP possession and distribution. NJOV-2 tracks trends in all of these types of cases. It also includes a component focusing on the role of technology in commercial sexual exploitation of children, and it collected detailed data about the role of social networking sites in technology-facilitated CSE. In addition, NJOV-1 assessed prosecutorialresponses to court rulings on evidentiary issues in CP possession cases and examined prosecutorial issues and outcomes in cases of non-forcible Internet-related sex crimes with adolescent victims. N-JOV3 is designed to build on this strong research base.
Goals and Objectives
Assess the scope and characteristics of trends in technology-facilitated CSE crimes. Examine perpetrator characteristics toilluminate links between possession or trafficking of CP and actual abuse of a child. Gather and analyze data about how different technologies are used in CSE crimes and about investigative strategies and techniques that address these issues. Examine the characteristics of and strategies for handling cases in which juveniles manufacture or distribute sexually explicit images of themselves or...