Exploring the removal of online child sexual abuse material in the United Kingdom: processes and practice

Martellozzo, Elena ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1249-7611 and DeMarco, Jeffrey ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7160-2100 (2020) Exploring the removal of online child sexual abuse material in the United Kingdom: processes and practice. Crime Prevention & Community Safety . ISSN 1460-3780 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1057/s41300-020-00099-2)

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Abstract

This paper explores the processes involved in the removal of online child sexual abuse material. It specifically focuses on the work of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in the UK who are partially responsible for the removal of this content. The empirical work was carried out between May 2017 and September 2017 and explored whether the IWFs processes at removing online child sexual abuse material were both useful and effective to the police and the wider communities. The research applied a mixed methods approach: Semi-structured interviews with employees (N=10) and key stakeholders (N=9), seeking to explore the strengths and challenges of both the task and the IWFs remit. Both employees and stakeholders saw the value in the original and innovative ‘space’ and ‘approach’ the IWF took in removing child sexual abuse material. This included the evolving nature of their tools, from the original URL list filter, to the more adaptable image hashing process. However, challenges around transparency, visibility and partnership were also raised. With online child sexual abuse ever evolving, it is important to consider novel ways in which intervention and prevention of victimization and offending can take place. Where a multi-disciplinary approach is needed in supporting victims, this research provides and insight into how one such organisation uses tools and techniques, different to traditional statutory services or law enforcement responses.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Online child sexual abuse material, Internet Watch Foundation, Child protection, Cyberspace, Child abuse
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 30638
Notes on copyright: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Crime Prevention & Community Safety. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Martellozzo, E., DeMarco, J. Exploring the removal of online child sexual abuse material in the UK: Processes and practice. Crime Prev Community Saf (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41300-020-00099-2 is available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41300-020-00099-2
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Depositing User: Elena Martellozzo
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2020 10:08
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2020 12:50
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/30638

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