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An exploratory study of public reports to investigate patterns and themes of requests for sexual images of minors online

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    Rights statement: © Quayle and Newman. 2016

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Original languageEnglish
JournalCrime Science
Issue number2
Early online date24 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


There is a growing body of research on sexually motivated online communication with minors that has been variously described as luring, grooming and solicitation. Evidence from US studies would suggest an increase in aggressive sexual solicitations, with adolescent girls being more likely to be targeted. Existing research has involved adolescent as well as offender populations, and has largely relied on surveys with young people, interviews and official record data with offenders and ethnographic work with police officers. There have also been a number of studies using chat log data between offenders and adults pretending to be children. In addition, while the use of sexual images has been noted in both offender and victim studies, this has not been critically examined. The present study is different as it used reports from the public to Cybertip.ca to make sense of the types of behaviour that alerted concerned adults, and occasionally young people, to make a report; information available about the young person; information about the suspect, and the interaction between the two. The results of this study show strong similarities with previous research in relation to both offender and victim populations. Implications are discussed in relation to the importance of reporting mechanisms, awareness raising with parents and the need to recognize sexual agency and resilience in many adolescents.

    Research areas

  • online sexual solicitation, adolescents, content analysis

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