Increased focus on identifying and saving children
Almost two-thirds, 65.2 per cent, of police officers in the study reported that they, as part of their daily work tasks, work with victim identification (victim ID).
Of the 34.8 per cent that said that they don’t work with victim ID, over half said that someone in their unit or department has that responsibility, or that they have someone else to send those cases to. That means 80 per cent of the respondents said that their department in some way works with victim ID.
Of those that have said that they don’t work with victim ID, several have explained it as a result of lack of resources, and the right resources.
“Time is the main reason. Victim ID is the responsibility of the Investigator in charge of the case when reviewing data. And usually only in circumstances where the suspect had access to children.”
Challenges when working with victim ID
The main challenges when working with victim ID are largely the same as the challenges identified for child sexual abuse investigations in insight 8; encryption, anonymisation technologies as well as other ways of hiding technical tracks or efforts to hide the identity of both offender and victim.
“Efforts by the suspect to hide identity of themselves and their victims.”
”Offenders are getting better at hiding their tracks.”
Other challenges that the police officers mention are the number of victims and lack of resources (especially lack of time), as well as difficulties to know where in the world the children come from.
“The sheer number of victims.”
“The volume of images and videos makes it difficult to put the time into victim ID.”
“Time pressure. It’s difficult to find time for such a time consuming jobs as ID:ing when you have large cases that needs classification.”
“The victims can be from anywhere in the world.”
”Location of victim getting local law enforcement to assist in some jurisdictions.”
Several police officers mention that it is a challenge to get help from social media platforms, app-companies and other technology providers that are based in other countries.
“Getting assistance from instant messaging app companies to identify victims and offenders.”
” Uncooperative foreign based e-mail or application providers.”
”Identifying people from social media accounts. Cooperation from social media apps.”
More than 1600 children saved from sexual abuse in 2015.
The police officers in the survey were asked how many children their unit had saved from sexual abuse in 2015. Together they had saved 1610 children!
Comment about the result:
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