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

Article


Martellozzo, E. and DeMarco, J. 2020. Exploring the removal of online child sexual abuse material in the United Kingdom: processes and practice. Crime Prevention & Community Safety. 22 (4), pp. 331-350. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41300-020-00099-2
TypeArticle
TitleExploring the removal of online child sexual abuse material in the United Kingdom: processes and practice
AuthorsMartellozzo, E. and DeMarco, J.
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.

KeywordsOnline child sexual abuse material, Internet Watch Foundation, Child protection, Cyberspace, Child abuse
LanguageEnglish
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
JournalCrime Prevention & Community Safety
ISSN1460-3780
Electronic1743-4629
Publication dates
Online05 Sep 2020
Print31 Dec 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Jul 2020
Accepted27 Apr 2020
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

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

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1057/s41300-020-00099-2
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