An integrative review of historical technology and countermeasure usage trends in online child sexual exploitation material offenders

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Starting with electronic Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs), Usenet and email, the adoption and continued use of technology to facilitate the viewing and possession of child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) has been of research interest for investigation, treatment, intervention, and interdiction purposes, and has been used in developing risk assessment tools. In this review, a systematic search of databases containing peer reviewed journal and conference papers as well as grey literature was conducted to identify prior quantitative research using the SPIDER methodology. The search was broken into a search for general technology usage, which identified 1,093 papers, and a search for countermeasure usage, which identified 3,190 papers. Following a title and abstract triage, then a subsequent full text review of the remaining papers, 33 papers were identified for inclusion as meeting relevancy and quality standards as measured by a modified Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies analysis. The review found long term trends indicative of a slow growth in collection sizes with growing percentages of video content. Additionally, offenders continued to use technologies beyond their normative usage periods and only adopted new technologies once capabilities specific to offender needs were incorporated into those technologies. Finally, the review noted issues with current countermeasures research in not adequately addressing integrated countermeasures that are enabled by default in newer technologies, and with general technology research in using older data and not including mixed-method technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number300971
Number of pages17
JournalForensic Science International: Digital Investigation
Early online date19 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • child pornography
  • online offender
  • child sexual exploitation material
  • technological behaviours
  • countermeasure usage


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