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A Multidisciplinary Approach to​ Child Pornography on the Internet: Impact on Victims​

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Attorney James R. Marsh and Social Worker Kathleen Coulborn Faller review the victim impact of child pornography on the Internet from both a social work and legal perspective.

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A Multidisciplinary Approach to​ Child Pornography on the Internet: Impact on Victims​

  1. 1. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Child Pornography on the Internet: Impact on Victims James R. Marsh, J.D. Marsh Law Firm PLLC Founder Children’s Law Center, Washington DC Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Ph.D., A.C.S.W., L.M.S.W. Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor Emerita of Children and Families School of Social Work University of Michigan Co-Director, Family Assessment Clinic Catholic Social Services
  2. 2. Agenda • Similarities with child sexual abuse • Differences in internet pornography cases • Discussion of Canadian Centre on Child Protection surveys • Legal interventions • Assessment guidelines • Treatment recommendations • Case studies
  3. 3. Similarities of impact between child sexual abuse and internet child pornography • Compromised ability to trust adults • Shame and stigmatization • Guilt from not preventing the abuse or from perceived benefits from abuse • Guilt because their disclosure results in family stress and negative consequences to the offender with whom they might have a valued relationship • Lifelong negative consequences in terms of sexual functioning, interpersonal relationships, health, mental health, and propensity to addictions and other self-abuse
  4. 4. Differences between child sexual abuse and internet child pornography • Potentially more traumatic and different • Sexual abuse to produce child pornography is more likely to involve sadistic acts • More likely to involve very young children • Shame and stigmatization are greater because these are not past traumatic experiences but are forever. • The abuse that produces pornographic images not only rekindles the original trauma but creates ongoing shame and fear of discovery. • When images are posted, shared, and downloaded, they endure into the victims’ adulthoods and until they die.
  5. 5. Canadian Centre on Child Protection: Child Sexual Abuse Images on the Internet—Summary of Key Findings—8 years of data 152,000 images • 78.29% of the images and videos assessed depicted very young, prepubescent children under 12 years old • 63.40% of those children under 12 years old appeared to be under 8 years of age • 6.65% of those children under 8 years old appeared to be babies or toddlers • 80.42% of the children were girls • 77.05% of the children’s faces were visible in the images and videos • 50.00% of the images and videos involved explicit sexual activity/assaults and extreme sexual assaults • 53.84% of the abuse acts against children under 12 years old involved explicit sexual activity/assaults and extreme sexual assaults
  6. 6. More Key Findings • 59.72% of the abuse acts against babies and toddlers involved explicit sexual activity/assaults and extreme sexual assaults • 68.68% of the images and videos appeared to be in a home setting, of which 69.91% captured explicit sexual activity/assaults and extreme sexual assaults • 83.35% of the adults visible in the images and videos were males • 97.25% of the content involved explicit sexual activity/assaults and extreme sexual assaults when adult males were visible with the children in the images and videos protectchildren.ca/app/en/about
  7. 7. Motivations for Producing Pornography • Contribute to sexual arousal and satisfaction • Desensitize the viewer to the harm being perpetrated against the children in the content • Be used to keep a child silent about the sexual abuse • Be used to obtain profit • Normalize sexual interest in children • Be shown to children in an attempt to normalize sexual contact between children and adults • Be shared with other offenders, sometimes in exchange for other images or videos
  8. 8. LEGAL INTERVENTIONS • Child pornography is like drug crimes: production, distribution, trafficking, possession, plus facilitating, advertising, and enticing • Mandatory minimum sentences in the federal courts, most state courts are much more lenient • 2/3 of the criminal prosecutions are in state courts • No federal “rape” statute – child pornography prosecutions only address production of the images, not the hands-on acts • Federal restitution for victims and state crime victim funds • Both federal and state civil remedies for victims
  9. 9. ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUES (for Civil Litigation) • Evaluation is focused around relevant questions. • Harm • Standard of care • Review of documents. • Should the evaluator view the pornography? • Should the evaluator contact formal and informal network members? • Interviews with victims. • Interviews with supportive adults. • Psychological testing of victims and caregivers. • Having victims and supportive adults complete standardized measures. • Assessment of economic impact.
  10. 10. INTERVIEWS • If the victim has supportive caregivers, they will be as traumatized and sometimes more than the victims, themselves. • This kind of victimization also affects other family members. • Because of the unique nature of internet pornography, structured interviews are probably not advisable. • Semi-structured interviews. • The reason the person is there. • Details about the internet child pornography. • Its impact generally. • Follow-up with specific domains of impact.
  11. 11. USE TESTS AND STANDARDIZED MEASURES CONSISTENT WITH THE PRESENTING SYMPTOMS Psychological testing: • MMPI-A • PAI • Parental Stress Index • Projective measures • TAT • Rorschach • House-Tree-Person • Sentence completion Standardized measures • Child Behavior Checklist— completed by caregiver • Youth Self Report—completed by child • Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children—completed by child • Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children—completed by caregiver • Trauma Symptom Inventory
  12. 12. What kind of treatment helps victims of Internet Child Pornography? • Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy with a supportive adult may be indicated. • Treatment for Complex Trauma. • But the abuse is ongoing, which argues for ongoing treatment. • These victims feel so isolated and indeed they are at long distances from other similarly victimized youth. • Virtual group treatment. • This could be a blog or a chat • It could also be scheduled sessions orchestrated by an expert in internet sexual abuse. • Their caregivers and other family members need treatment, too.
  13. 13. CASE STUDIES
  14. 14. The Survivor Experience • Canadian Centre for Child Protection • International survey in January 2016 for adult survivors of child pornography and online exploitation • 150 participants • Goal is to learn about the experiences of this population, as well as to determine what policy, legislative, and therapeutic changes are required to respond to the needs of survivors • Working group of international experts
  15. 15. Questions Contact Information • jamesmarsh@marsh.law • kcfaller@umich.edu

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