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What Do We Know About Online Sexual Offending?

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Abstract

In this chapter, I provide a brief overview of what we know scientifically about online sexual offending, focusing on prevalence, perpetrator characteristics, recidivism rates, and risk assessment. For perpetrator characteristics, I focus on factors that distinguish online from contact offenders, and for risk assessment, I describe the development and validation of an online offender-specific risk assessment tool created to support the work of law enforcement (the Child Pornography Offender Risk Tool). I then discuss prevention and early intervention options, particularly more scalable technological responses, and conclude with directions for future research.

Keywords

  • Online sexual offending
  • Perpetrator characteristics
  • Risk assessment
  • Technology
  • Prevention and early intervention

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-66654-5_3
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Notes

  1. 1.

    Disclosure: I’m a pro bono scientific advisor for Thorn, and Thorn funded the research study with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) described in the research report by Seto et al. (2018).

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Correspondence to Michael C. Seto .

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Seto, M.C. (2021). What Do We Know About Online Sexual Offending?. In: Caffo, E. (eds) Online Child Sexual Exploitation. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66654-5_3

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