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University report examines tragic world of online child sex abuse

One central finding in a recently released university report focusing on the identification and prevention of online child sexual abuse concludes that some children are essentially alone in fighting back. That is, they have to rely upon their own developed "digital skills" in responding to "unwanted experiences."

That reality has to deeply concern every caring and empathetic adult across the globe. And it has to be flatly terrifying to parents, who understandably try to protect their precious children against the unmitigated horrors of child sexual abuse.

For obvious reasons, children are the most vulnerable demographic being preyed upon by sexual predators. Their lack of life experience renders them especially prone to being taken advantage of. And when they are, they often don't know how to stop maltreatment and reach out for help.

Abusers know that. In fact, they rely upon the trust that children readily and routinely posit in others, especially people in select positions like teachers, mentors, coaches and older family members.

The above-cited report, authored by researchers at England's Lancaster University, notes the stark reality that many victims of so-called "online facilitated child sexual abuse" (sadly, there is an acronym borne of commonality for that -- OFCSA) aren't noted by authorities until their abuse is seen online. The fact that an image or video exists is instant confirmation that many opportunities for spotlighting and stopping abuse have already been missed.

The fight against sexual abusers of children must obviously be persistent, unified across the globe and unsparing of resources.

And it must be widely focused. As the Lancaster report notes, "any child from any socio-economic background can fall victim to OFCSA."

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