Offender outreach

What is it?

  • Develop targeted early intervention strategies to reach those at risk of offending and develop targeted strategies to reach existing offenders and signpost to sources of help to change behaviour.

Why is it important?

  • Understanding the characteristics, dynamics and motivations for abuse in general, including CSEA online, is crucial to developing effective strategies aimed at its elimination. This includes understanding risk profiles and behaviours.  For some come children and young people, engaging in harmful sexual behaviours may be associated with experiences of trauma, sexual or physical abuse, discrimination, disadvantage or exposure to violence.
  • Strategies targeting (i) individuals at risk of offending and (ii) existing offenders can obstruct irrational decision-making processes and provide advice and information, including on legislation and criminal justice implications. Strategies should aim to prevent an individual from deciding to offend or re-offend.
  • Increases in demand for CSAM, and online child sexual abuse and exploitation more generally, require increases in supply. Reducing, or eliminating, the demand is one logical and important component of a global strategy.

How can it be implemented?

  • Detailed research and analysis can be carried out to understand 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. It is also useful to understand how offenders and potential offenders engage with each other and share techniques and methods. With a detailed understanding of the offending risks, dynamics and approaches, information and outreach strategies can target different groups of potential and existing offenders. (See capability 24).
  • Specific capacity building, including training and mentoring, for service providers, parents, teachers and others where necessary on understanding sexual offenders can be provided.
  • Information can be disseminated to child protection actors on legislation and criminal justice implications relating to child sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • Anonymous helplines can be set up, or a service extended to existing helplines, to reach anyone “concerned about their own thoughts or behaviour towards children; those worried about the sexual behaviour of another adult, or a child or young person; or any other adult with a concern about child sexual abuse including survivors and professionals”.
  • Comprehensive monitoring and evaluation, and academic research where possible, should be built into approaches and strategies to ensure that lessons are learned on successes and challenges, which can be shared and, where successful, replicated 

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