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Article

“Our Laws Have Not Caught up with the Technology”: Understanding Challenges and Facilitators in Investigating and Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse Materials in the United States

1
Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
2
The Keller Center, San Mateo Medical Center, San Mateo, CA 94403, USA
3
College of Law, Willamette University, Salem, OR 97301, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 September 2020 / Revised: 7 November 2020 / Accepted: 24 November 2020 / Published: 26 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laws and Emerging Technologies)
With technological advances, the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) has become one of the fastest growing illicit online industries in the United States. Perpetrators are becoming increasingly sophisticated and exploit cutting-edge technology, making it difficult for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute these crimes. There is limited research on best practices for investigating cases of CSAM. The aim of this research was to understand challenges and facilitators for investigating and prosecuting cases of CSAM as a foundation to develop best practices in this area. To meet these objectives, qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted with participants throughout the western United States. Two major themes arose from this research: Theme 1: Challenges to investigating and prosecuting CSAM; and Theme 2: Facilitators to investigating and prosecuting CSAM. Within Theme 1, subthemes included technology and internet service providers, laws, lack of resources, and service provider mental health and well-being. Within Theme 2, subthemes included multidisciplinary teams and training. This research is a first step in understanding the experiences of law enforcement and prosecutors in addressing CSAM. Findings from this study can be used to support the development of best practices for those in the justice system investigating and prosecuting CSAM. View Full-Text
Keywords: child sexual abuse material; child pornography; law enforcement; multidisciplinary work child sexual abuse material; child pornography; law enforcement; multidisciplinary work
MDPI and ACS Style

Cullen, O.; Ernst, K.Z.; Dawes, N.; Binford, W.; Dimitropoulos, G. “Our Laws Have Not Caught up with the Technology”: Understanding Challenges and Facilitators in Investigating and Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse Materials in the United States. Laws 2020, 9, 28. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws9040028

AMA Style

Cullen O, Ernst KZ, Dawes N, Binford W, Dimitropoulos G. “Our Laws Have Not Caught up with the Technology”: Understanding Challenges and Facilitators in Investigating and Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse Materials in the United States. Laws. 2020; 9(4):28. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws9040028

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cullen, Olivia, Keri Z. Ernst, Natalie Dawes, Warren Binford, and Gina Dimitropoulos. 2020. "“Our Laws Have Not Caught up with the Technology”: Understanding Challenges and Facilitators in Investigating and Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse Materials in the United States" Laws 9, no. 4: 28. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws9040028

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