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The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)
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The European Online Grooming Project - Preliminary Findings (Julia Davidson)

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Professor Julia Davidson …

Professor Julia Davidson
Centre for Abuse & Trauma Studies
Kingston University

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  • Young people online: More than 30 million Children used the Internet in the USA in 2000 (Gottschalklk, 2010) A recent report from the Centre for Missing and Exploited Children described 2,660 incidents of adults using the Internet to befriend and establish and emotional connection with a child, in order to entice them into meeting. UK sample age 10 to 16. Approximately 1 in 5 receives a sexual solicitation or approach. The majority of children had access to at least one computer at home, around half had a computer in their bedroom, and over two thirds were unsupervised when using the Internet (Davidson & Martellozzo, 2008). Sexual offenders online: Limited empirical evidence, much of which has been focussed on the nature, extent and use of indecent images of children (Seto & Eke ,2005; O’Brien & Webster, 2007) There has been a significant increase in the amount of child abuse images on the Internet that parallels the emergence of the Internet as a mass consumer technology. 1999 in the UK – 403 people cautioned, 2007 there were 1402 (Carr & Hilton, 2010). Some evidence to suggest a link between indecent image usage and contact offending (Hernandez, 2009) whereas other studies are less certain (Seto, 2009). It is important that the research attempts to explain as well as describe online groomers behaviour. This is particularly pertinent given the criminogenic qualities of technology in this aspect of sexual offending (Taylor & Quayle, 2006) and speaks to Ward’s (2010) paper arguing for situated cognition. That is, artefacts of the environment are seen as extensions of cognition and so help provide a full understanding of offending and offence supportive beliefs. Research set in the context of the online disinhibition effect (Suller, 2004); deindividuation (Zimbardo, 1969) and the self regulation model of relapse (Ward & Hudson, 1998).
  • Iterative design with each phase feeding into the next.
  • Notes about the scoping model for discussion: Scoping review developed a nine phase hypothetical model of online grooming. Model used as a framework to ask questions of online groomers in the next stage of the research. Two broad ‘types’ of groomer were initially hypothesised: targeted and opportunistic although typology has since diversified based on self –regulation theory Offender maintenance appears to run concurrently with phases and encompasses: cognitive distortions; time on offender forums; indecent image collections Groomers appear to pass through the phases in minutes, hours or days – process does appear to have speeded up When contact is made at phase 5 - process of risk management appears to develop This framework was then subject to further scrutiny at the next stage of the research
  • BIG HEALTH WARNING THAT THESE DATA ARE BASED ON PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS. SO…SUBJECT TO SOME CHANGE AT FULL ANALYSIS Important to note that the thematic categories presented do not apply to every offender but instead present a map of the problem
  • Refer back to sample slides for age and IQ data etc….. IT competence (primarily seems to be self-taught) 001-001: could clone Facebook pages using code 002_003: built own computer 003_004: would take apart sons X-box so he could play pirate games Observing family 003_004: used to watch kids on MSN send messages and smiley faces to each other whilst at home Research 004_001: did a little research on the Internet to see what chatrooms are all about What ICT are offenders using? Desktop’s laptops, mobile phones, Webcams, X-Box 360 (and X-Box webcams) Playstation 3. Sites – filesharing, all social networks, ‘artistic’ sites, sites for offenders ‘‘Boyzone’ ‘men who like young boys’ limited logistic risk management such as proxy servers though some choices seem to be made to manage risk (mobile phones for privacy, laptop purchased so it could be easily hidden from visiting probation officer and so on)
  • The most contentious slide as here we challenge some of the notions of passive victims and suggest that some YPs are sexually active and ware what they are doing. Need to caveat that we have not spoken to YPs in this study but expert stakeholders interviewed at the scoping phase suggest that there is some proactively on part of the YP
  • Asked offender to paint a picture of the person groomed beyond them being sexually disinhibited. Here we have a sense of core underlying vulnerability that may have assisted the groomer in targeting these individuals. In some cases the online environment helps young people feel disinhibited and able to express these personal challenges openly online. Please see analysis notes for detail of these categories
  • Having set the behaviour in an online context, here is the revised model based in the analysis to date. Key things to note…… Artificial to present a ‘one size fits all’ model – what we have presented is a coherent way to describe the range of behaviours. We can explain individual patterns later on based on disinhibition and self-regulation theory. Images and adult chat not built into the model as this would be misleading. Image use does seems to serve as a disinhibitor and motivator but can appear at any phase in the process of online grooming. Different types of images placed at the same level as we have no evidence of a causal relationship between them and behaviour. Also key to note that image use does not apply to all and we have evidence that it played no part in some offenders grooming. Phases of the model are not numbered as this would suggest a hirerarchty or linear relationship. For some it is linear as presented but for others only a few phases apply. Also evidence of some groomers using different combinations of phase for different young people. What this suggests is a tailored approach for some, based on their self-regulation style and goals, and the online behaviour of young people. The process can take months or minutes – again we suggest that this can be explained in the context of how regulated or under-regulated the offender is. Please see analysis notes for examples of each phase…….(but we will have to be swift to cover it all – I plan just to give a flavour of some)
  • Transcript

    • 1. The European Online Grooming Project_ Preliminary Findings EC Safer Internet Programme Safer Internet Forum , Luxembourg, 20th – 22nd October 2010 Professor Julia Davidson Centre for Abuse & Trauma Studies Kingston University
    • 2. I think grooming is planned out in advance. In my opinion, they have a very precise game plan.‟ (Belgium SH4 - Police)
    • 3. Presentation overview  The consortium  The European Online Grooming Project_  Design  Scoping findings & context  Online groomers preliminary analysis  Reflections  Next steps
    • 4. European consortium  UK – Stephen Webster, National Centre for Social Research – Professor Julia Davidson, Kingston University – Professor Antonia Bifulco, Royal Holloway University of London  Belgium – Professor Thierry Pham, Universite de Mons-Hainaut  Italy – Professor Vincenzo Caretti, Rome University  Norway – Professor Petter Gottschalk, BI Norwegian University
    • 5. The European Online Grooming Project_  Largest study of online grooming to date  Aims: – to understand the different ways sexual offenders approach, communicate and ‘groom’ young people online – to empower policy makers, front line professionals, teachers, carers and young people to effectively manage online risks  Funded by the EC Safer Internet Plus Programme  Running from June 2009 to December 2011
    • 6. The Context Internet sex offender behaviour can include: 1. The construction of sites/virtual communities to be used for the exchange of information, experiences, and indecent images of children at an informal level (not PPV); 2. The organization of criminal activities – production of indecent child images at a professional level ; 3. The posting of explicit profiles; 4. The grooming of children for the purposes of sexual abuse (CEOP, 2009, 4 reports of young people planning to meet following sexual grooming per day)
    • 7. The Context  30 million US children used Web in 2000 (Gottschalk, 2010); 2,660 incidents of inappropriate approaches reported by Centre for Exploited and Missing Children  Evidence about online sexual offending primarily focussed on indecent image use (Seto & Eke 2005; O’Brien & Webster 2007) and not contact behaviours  Cannot explain online grooming without understanding the offender – computer – young person interaction.
    • 8. EU Legislative Context • A recently published EU (2009) document entitled ‘Combating the Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography‟ outlines the difficulty in protecting young people when there is such widespread variation in national criminal law and law enforcement practice in Europe. • Article 5 -online grooming ‘solicitation of children for sexual purposes’ (p5) and asks that each member state ensure that such conduct is punishable in law. • Refers to cases involving children under the age of consent under national law (which varies considerably across Europe), where an adult arranges to meet for the purposes of sexual abuse via the means of ‘an information system‟ (p5).
    • 9. Lisbon Treaty  New rules proposed March 2010 by the European Commission would see child porn websites blocked from the Internet and ask for human traffickers to be handed maximum sentences of five to ten years in prison.  The proposal's scope would also punish grooming - luring victims via online chat forums - and seek to ensure that abusers cannot re-offend in another EU country.
    • 10. Legislative Context :Grooming  The United Kingdom (UK) was one of the first EU member states to initiate legislation to make it illegal to groom children with the intent of committing a sexual offence ( s15, Sexual Offences Act 2003, England and Wales).  Norway followed the UK’s example (2007) and Sweden (2009)
    • 11. Research Design  Three interlinked research phases: – Scoping interviews with stakeholders (police officers, treatment providers, industry specialists), review of police case-files; development of theoretical model, literature review – In-depth interviews with online groomers in the UK, Norway, Italy & Belgium – Workshops with parents, teachers and young people  Data analysed using Framework, case and theme based approach to analysis.
    • 12. Stakeholder Interview & Offender Case File Analysis Findings
    • 13.  Some offenders may be engaging with 30 to 50 young people at different stages of the grooming process at any one time  Offenders tend to refine their activities on the basis of what had „worked well‟ in previous encounters.  Actual process of online grooming may take minutes, hours, days or months.  Online groomers remain at different phases of the model for various lengths of time according to a dynamic inter-relationship between their goals and needs and the style or reactions of the young person.
    • 14. Offender Behaviour Grooming behaviour planned: „The groomer gradually increases his control on the victim, who doesn‟t really realize it. An example of this control is online blackmail. I remember a (case of) a young girl seduced on a chat- line by a groomer who started to recharge her mobile phone, as a normal favour one friend to another. He then started asking her to send him pictures of her bare-breasted, and then with only her underwear on. When she refused to give him pictures of her totally naked, the groomer had enough photos to blackmail her.‟ – (Italy SH4 – Internet expert)
    • 15. Groomer Identities & Language Multiple identities: I‟ve got suspects at the moment who have four identities. They‟ve created two identities of 13-year old girls, and two males, and what this guy has done is absolutely plan it to make sure that he can have backup. He‟ll have one on Yahoo! Messenger, one on MSN. Why? Well, you can‟t be on two MSN at the same time but you can be on others, so he can actually be two people.‟ – (UK SH 4 - police) „If he hopes to communicate, he‟s got to speak the same lingo. If they don‟t communicate the same way, if the groomer isn‟t familiar with the language the kid uses, it just isn‟t going to happen.‟ – (Belgium, SH3 police)
    • 16. Victim Behaviour  …‟it blows my mind to know that there are more and more young girls out there who know they‟re chatting with a grown man. Paedophiles need to hide their age less and less, it‟s becoming less and less necessary for them to say they‟re 12 years old; they might say they‟re 39 instead of 45. More and more, young girls are chatting with grown men even if they know that they‟re way older than them.‟ - (Belgium, SH3 police)  …..‟they (young people) are thinking, “ I am sitting here in my bedroom, what can possibly go wrong?”‟ – (UK, SH5, young person specialist)  ……..‟they appreciate being taken seriously, they (the online groomers) give them compliments, say that they are grown-up. So the child will get confirmation of being somebody and a grown-up.‟ – (Norway, SH1, young people expert)
    • 17. Scoping findings: Model development 1. vulnerability factors 2. grooming style 3. preparation and scanning Pre contact 4. identity assumed 1 5. initial contact 6. identity assumed 2 7. desensitisation 8. offence maintenance & intensity Contact 9. outcomes
    • 18. Online Groomers Emerging Findings
    • 19. What do we know about online groomers?  Like contact sexual offenders – not a homogeneous group. Where they do seem to differ: – Relatively few with any criminal convictions (previous offending?) – High IQ but not a particularly high level of educational attainment – IT competence seems to be primarily self taught, via workplace, observing family and online research  Using full range of ICT interaction facilities, chatrooms, file-sharing sites and game platforms to contact young people
    • 20. Young people online: 1  Young people reported to behave in a range of ways – from robust to disinhibited participants(validated by stakeholder interviews and case file analysis)  Resilient young people – Evidence of safety messages getting through as offenders told by some to ‘go away’ in no uncertain terms. Supported by other recent research with young people(Davidson et al , 2010).  Where young people were reported to be disinhibited this involved: use of sexual screen names; sexual chat; populating adult chat rooms; sending explicit images of self
    • 21. Young people online: 2  Disinhibition does appear to be underpinned by a range of vulnerability factors, expressed online: – Negative self-image – Parental problems/disrupted care – Difficulties at school – Loneliness – Self-harm – Concurrent sexual abuse  Online disinhibiton and the self-regulation model may help explain these differences between young people and feed into targeted awareness programmes – further research required- ROBERT
    • 22. Developing a Model of Online Grooming: Key Points 1  No ‘one size fits all’ model – range and fluidity of behaviours  Image use does seem to serve as a motivator but can appear at any phase in the process of online grooming. No evidence of a causal relationship between image use and behaviour.  Image use does not apply to all - evidence that it played no part in some offenders grooming.
    • 23. Developing a Model of Online Grooming: Key Points 2  The process can take months or minutes , can be direct or indirect  Phases of the model are not numbered - no hirerarchy or linear relationship. For some it is linear but for others only a few phases apply.  Evidence of some groomers using different combinations of phase for different young people. What this suggests is a tailored approach for some, based on their self-regulation style and goals, and the online behaviour/response of young people.
    • 24. Revised model of online grooming Vulnerability Offender Desensitisation Adult Chat Adult Pornography Child Abuse Images Preparation & Scanning Identity Initial Contact Risk Management Desensitisation & Intensity Outcomes ©Webster, Davidson, Bifulco, Caretti, Gottschalk, Pham 2010
    • 25. Implications for Online Safety Safety and Awareness • Consider online disinhibition in context of safety campaigns – majority probably not at ‘risk’ • Why are some young people more resilient, less likely to interact? • Implications for the design of safety awareness educational initiatives • Need to really understand young people’s online behaviour and the norms guiding behaviour • Not just ‘risk’ but ethical Internet use- digital footprint etc What can the industry do? • Ensure social networking pages cannot be cloned • Pages first activated with privacy fixed – Young person has to unlock • Work more proactively with educators and young people to raise awareness but not spread alarm
    • 26. Implications for Offender Treatment – Nature of online reality for individuals. How easy it is for some offenders to feel anonymous and disinhibited – Risks that accompany certain behaviours and how offender needs to recognise this – Attempts to exit the offending process challenging once chat begins. Risk awareness need to happen at early phase of model – ensure all offenders are screened for PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist Revised)
    • 27. Next steps  Analysis of full online groomers dataset (Dec 10 – January 11)  Launch of full findings (February 11)  Discussion groups with parents, teachers and young people (February – May 11)  Final report (December 11)
    • 28. Further information  www.european-online-grooming-project.com  http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities /sip/index_en.htm  J.davidson@kingston.ac.uk

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