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Crimes Against Children Research Center Receives $217,000 To Help Victims of Child Pornography

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The UNH Crimes against Children Research Center has received a $217,000 federal grant to help the victims of child pornography by identifying promising treatment and policy responses to promote their recovery.

Funded by the Office for Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice, the two-year grant is part of a larger half a million dollar award to the National Center for Victims of Crime, with which the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center and the National Children’s Alliance are collaborating partners.  

“A considerable body of research exists about the impact of child sexual abuse and appropriate interventions. Far less is known about the added impact from the capturing and distribution of images, or the interventions and best practices to serve victims who must face that images showing their abuse may be seen repeatedly by other people. Furthermore, there is a dearth of existing information regarding best practices,” said Wendy Walsh, research associate professor at the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center. Walsh and Janis Wolak, senior researcher with the center, are leading the UNH effort.

“This project will help to identify effective multidisciplinary responses to victims of child pornography, serve as a feedback loop to practitioners working with this population, and help to identify unmet needs of professionals and families and victims of child pornography,” Walsh said.

UNH’s role will be to survey professionals who work with victims of child pornography (practitioners, prosecutors, law enforcement, medical professionals, child protection) and survey families and victims who have experienced being a victim of child pornography to help identify promising interventions, the effects of image taking on victims, professionals’ own reactions, and unmet needs of victims and families.

“The criminal justice, child protection, and mental health response systems struggle with how best to respond to victims of child pornography. Every state has passed legislation providing crime victims with basic rights to be notified, present, and heard, and to receive restitution during the criminal justice process. But many questions remain as to what rights apply and what services might be available for victims of child pornography when the images—actual crime scene photos or videos—may appear online for decades,” said Susan Howley, project director at the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Created in 1998, the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) is a nationally recognized research center that works to combat crimes against children by providing high-quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners. CCRC is concerned with research about the nature of crimes including child abduction, homicide, rape, assault, and physical and sexual abuse as well as their impact. Associated with the CCRC is an internationally recognized group of experts who have published numerous books and articles concerning the incidence and impact of violence against children. Visit the center online at http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/index.html.