Dedicated, trained officers and prosecutors

What is it?

  • Ensuring that dedicated law enforcement officers, prosecutors and the judiciary have an expertise in tackling CSEA online and developing solutions for investigating content.

Why is it important?

  • Officers and prosecutors, generally, have a strong understanding, experience or expertise in the technical area that they are investigating. Dedicated resourcing to tackling child sexual exploitation and abuse, including dedicated training around the online aspects and offences, should ensure a relevant, accurate and quality criminal investigation, response and solution.
  • Cybercrime methods are constantly developing and, to be effective, officers and prosecutors need to remain in line with or ahead of developments. This includes maintaining a detailed understanding of encrypted content as well as cybercrime collaboration, methods, tools, platforms and software.
  • It is important for all involved to have a victim-focused approach and understanding of the impact of crime on victims, as well as of offender behaviour.

How can it be implemented?

  • Develop, or identify and adapt existing, training and professional development for all actors in the criminal justice system and child protection systems who will work on tackling CSEA online, including civil society and victim support services.
  • Training and capacity building should be contextualised and utilise local knowledge, where possible.
  • Systematic monitoring and analysis of the cybercrime environment and its changes is necessary to ensure that training, mentoring and coaching remains relevant. This should include offender methodology and the tools, platforms and software they use.
  • Ensure that officers and prosecutors have access to shared case priority / urgency levels and are aware of their responsibilities and the appropriate follow up and responses (see competency 7).
  • Ensure that officers and prosecutors have access to other individuals, including from other countries, who work on the same topics for shared learning and peer support.
  • In addition to initial training, officers and prosecutors’ expertise needs support to develop, grow and remain relevant. This can include but is not limited to: refresher training, coaching opportunities, mentoring advice, sharing relevant news and analysis, and attending relevant (regional or global) conferences, including virtual conferences.
  • Ensure that officers and prosecutors, and their employers, can receive appropriate training and support so that they can maintain their own self-care, protection and wellbeing and manage the information on CSEA online that they see so as to avoid secondary trauma.

Further resources:

Lucy Faithfull Foundation, Expert Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Training.