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Police Investigations of Child Abuse Material - Challenges and Possibilities with Digital Technology

Conference paper
Authors Marie Eneman
Published in 24th UK Academy for Information Systems International Conference Proceeding. Oxford, UK, April, 2019
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords digital technology, child abuse material, police investigations, qualitative study, interviews
Subject categories Human Computer Interaction, Technology and social change, Law and Society, Children


The development and use of digital technology have profoundly changed the circumstances for people involved in the production, distribution and possession of child abuse material. One the one hand, the technology can be used for illegal activities such as the production, distribution and possession of child abuse material. On the other hand, the technology can be used as a tool to combat and investigate these crimes. Child abuse material constitutes crime evidence portraying committed sexual abuse of children. Law enforcement should therefore focus their efforts on identifying both the offender and the victim involved in the creation of the material. Traditionally law enforcement agencies have focused their efforts on the offenders that have been in focus for identification, prosecution and often also for rehabilitation. Thus, law enforcement has devoted resources towards convictions for the distribution and possession of child abuse material rather than attempting to identify and protect the children in the material. The main purpose with this research in progress paper is to explore how digital technology affects police investigations of child abuse material with a particular focus upon victim identification within the wider investigation work. Empirical material has been collected through semi-structured interviews with police investigators.

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