Topics


National Juvenile Online Victimization Study
(N-JOV2) & Internet-facilitated Commercial
Sexual Exploitation of Children (IF-CSEC)

Summary. These are two related projects. The first, the Second National Juvenile Online Victimization Study (N-JOV2) is funded by the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). It looks at the growth and change of Internet sex crimes against children in the criminal justice system since our first study (N-JOV1) which was conducted in 2001. The second, Internet-facilitated Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (IF-CSEC) is also funded by OJJDP and looks at the prevalence and characteristics of commercial sex crimes against children in the criminal justice system, including purchasing child pornography online and advertising a child for sex online.

Background

The first National Juvenile Online Victimization Study (N-JOV1) was the only national research to systematically collect data about the number and characteristics of Internet sex crimes against minors. It provided detailed information about the types of Internet sex crimes, as well as numbers of arrests, characteristics of offenders and victims, dynamics of the crimes, and criminal justice system responses. The result was a wealth of information about the nature of Internet sex crimes, including that:

  • The great majority of child pornography possessors were arrested for having highly explicit images of young children.
  • Offenders who used the Internet to commit offenses against family members and acquaintances were as numerous as those who used the Internet to meet victims.
  • Most victims of online meeting crimes were adolescents.
  • Most offenders who used the Internet to meet victims manipulated adolescents into sexual relationships rather than using deception.
  • Proactive undercover investigations represented a significant number of arrests and had high conviction rates.
  • The quality of the evidence in Internet sex crimes led to high success rates for prosecutors.
  • Two-thirds of offenders who committed Internet crimes possessed child pornography.
  • Most cases involved multiple law enforcement agencies and many involved multiple jurisdictions.

However, since N-JOV1 there have been substantial changes in computer and Internet technology, growth in the population of Internet users and increases in the number of law enforcement agencies with expertise in Internet sex crimes. These factors could impact the characteristics of the offenders and victims, the dynamics of the crimes, and the criminal justice response. Further, the Internet may be changing the dynamics of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth, including child prostitution, trafficking, sex tourism, child pornography and other CSEC crimes. To date, the prevalence and characteristics of such crimes is unknown.

The Goals of the N-JOV2 project are to:

 

  • Show the changes in numbers of arrests, nationwide, for Internet sex crimes against minors approximately 5 years after N-JOV1 (July 2000 - June 2001 compared to January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2006).
  • Describe changes in the characteristics of victims and perpetrators and the dynamics of cases in the past 5 years.
  • Document changes in the role of child pornography, including changes in the number of arrests that involve child pornography, the proportion of dual offenders who both possess child pornography and sexually abuse, and the nature and format of images in the possession of offenders.
  • Describe emerging trends in Internet sex crimes.
  • Make policy recommendations that will increase reporting, assist in the allocation of resources, improve prevention measures and victim services, and respond to investigatory and prosecutorial needs.
  • Develop typologies of Internet Facilitated - Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (IF-CSEC) based on the dynamics of crimes, uses of technology, characteristics of offenders and victims, patterns of financial exchange, and degree of economic motivation.
  • Gather baseline data about numbers of arrests for IF-CSEC crimes in a national sample of law enforcement agencies for determining future growth and trends in IF-CSEC.
  • Make recommendations so that improved policies and practices to protect youth and prevent commercial sexual exploitation can be developed and implemented.

Methodology

N-JOV2 follows the same research protocol as the N-JOV1 Study. Researchers sent mail surveys to the same national sample of law enforcement agencies that participated in N-JOV1. The sample included all of the ICAC Task Forces, units of federal agencies created to deal with Internet crimes, a random sample of police agencies that have sent staff to trainings in Internet crimes and a random sample of other agencies. The mail survey asks for information about arrests in Internet cases between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2006. Telephone interviewers then follow-up on a sample of the reported cases, speaking with investigators and gathering detailed information about the characteristics of cases and the circumstances surrounding them. The same interview used in N-JOV1 is used in N-JOV2, with minor changes, including the additions of questions about new technologies and questions specific to Internet-facilitated commercial sexual exploitation of children.