Offender research

What is it?

  • Offender behaviour, drivers, pathways and effective interdiction.

Why is it important?

  • Understanding the characteristics, dynamics and motivations for abuse in general, including CSEA online and other online harms, is crucial to developing effective strategies aimed at elimination. This includes understanding who the offenders and potential offenders are (male, female, adult, child) and where they are based.
  • Strategies targeting (i) individuals at risk of offending and (ii) existing offenders can be based on research / understanding of thought processes and strategies behind online sexual exploitation and abuse. Based on relevant evidence, strategies can aim to prevent an individual from deciding to offend or re-offend. (See capability 21) and setting societal standards for online behaviour will help some people to not offend in the first place.

How can it be implemented?

  • Detailed research can identify and analyse who is at risk of offending and who is actually offending, why, how (through what digital channels and offline methods) and where they are physically located (as many cases are cross-border).  
  • It is also useful to understand if, where, why, and how current, potential and previous offenders engage with each other and share techniques and methods.
  • It is important to include current, potential and previous offenders in any research design to understand the dynamics and decision-making rationale. This should include research and analysis of “demand and supply” routes and the role of intermediaries or organisers (who can often be family members of the victim or survivor).

Further resources: