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Managing Perpetrators of Child Sexual Exploitation and IIOC: Understanding Risk of Suicide


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This report is a summary of the research conducted as part of the work of the Suicide Prevention Group from 2015 to 2017. The report outlines a systematic review of the known published literature on risk factors of suicide in CSE and IIOC offenders and qualitative research conducted across three groups (law enforcement officers, Lucy Faithfull Foundation ‘Stop it Now!’1 helpline operators and post-conviction IIOC offenders in the UK). The findings of this report have been utilised as a framework to refine the original operational guidance of the suicide prevention and risk management of perpetrators of Online CSE and IIOC (NPCC, 2017).
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... The full written analysis for all themes can be found in report written for the National Police Chief's Council. 18 The focus of this paper is the six over-arching themes that were common across all datasets: (i) offender demographics; (ii) psychological impact of arrest; (iii) coping with the investigation; (iv) cognitive distortion; (v) shame and stigma; and (vi) professional support. ...
... Future research may require a focus on the audit of the implementation and use of the redrafted guidance which has been informed by the current studies. 18 The identification and reporting of services currently working with men who view CSAM, and learning from services which have already adopted a multi-agency approach to the management of suicide risk in men under investigation for CSAM, may help to highlight areas of 'best practice' and 'what works,' and assist the development of best practice guidance nationally. ...
... Key recommendations highlighted in Managing Perpetrators of Child Sexual Exploitation and Indecent Images of Children (IIOC): Understanding Risk of Suicide.18 ...
Attempts to address the threat of harm posed by perpetrators of child sexual abuse (CSA) have rightly increased in recent years, with well-known efforts such as operation NOTARISE resulting in 750 arrests; however, the cost of such operations is also high. Operation NOTARISE resulted in 24 suicides; the estimated economic and social cost of which has been estimated to be £34.8 million.[1] Perpetrators who view child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) are not only at higher risk of suicide than the general population, individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and perpetrators of other violent and sexual crimes,[2-5] but they also appear to be at higher risk of suicide than perpetrators of CSA who engage directly in sexual acts with a child .[6-8] An in-depth understanding of the experiences of CSAM offenders is missing in the literature, but is required to understand how to mitigate the risk of suicide amongst this high risk group. This qualitative study investigates the experiences of CSAM perpetrators from the perspectives of law enforcement officers (n = 16), CSAM perpetrators themselves (n = 5), and help-line operators who have provided support to CSAM perpetrators through the Lucy Faithful Foundation “Stop it now!” helpline (n = 6). Analysis was conducted separately for each dataset and in accordance with guidelines set out by Braun and Clark .[9] The focus of this paper is the six over-arching themes that were common across all datasets: (i) offender demographics; (ii) psychological impact of arrest; (iii) coping with the investigation; (iv) cognitive distortion; (v) shame and stigma; and (vi) professional support. Findings are discussed in the context of the challenges faced by law enforcement and healthcare professions when providing support to this high risk group, and eight key recommendations are made to reduce the risk of suicide.
Online child sexual abuse encompasses a range of offenses including the accessing, downloading, sharing and creating of images of child sexual abuse, often referred to as Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). CSAM consumption has increased exponentially, and the lockdowns implemented as a response to COVID-19 have exacerbated this problem. CSAM offenders are more likely than other sex offenders to be married, to have children and to live with a partner and child(ren). Policy, practice and research has largely considered these families within the context of their protective properties, with little consideration for the individual and collective harms that they experience, and their unique support needs. Using data from 20 interviews with family members of those convicted of CSAM offenses in the UK, we propose seven key elements that characterize the impacts of CSAM offending on non-offending family members. We categorize these as: 1) Disenfranchised Grief; 2) Ambiguous Loss; 3) Ontological Assault; 4) Contamination by Causal Responsibility; 5) Wall of Silence; 6) No-Win Situation, and 7) Burden of Responsibility. We propose policy and practice responses to minimize these harms.
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) is the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse (CSA). This chapter provides an overview of LFF’s projects over the last 25 years, including the Wolvercote Clinic, and work with young people and women. The authors give attention to the major CSA prevention initiatives developed by LFF, including the development of the Stop it Now! campaign and Helpline. The chapter considers the growing problem of indecent images of children and the importance of strategies to encourage deterrence and desistance. LFF’s recent Deterrence Campaign and Get Help website are offered as prevention strategies for deterring online offending at the outset, along with considering LFF’s ongoing service developments.
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The elevated risk of suicide in prison and after release is a well-recognised and serious problem. Despite this, evidence concerning community-based offenders' suicide risk is sparse. We conducted a population-based nested case–control study of all people in a community justice pathway in England and Wales. Our data show 13% of general population suicides were in community justice pathways before death. Suicide risks were highest among individuals receiving police cautions, and those having recent, or impending prosecution for sexual offences. Findings have implications for the training and practice of clinicians identifying and assessing suicidality, and offering support to those at elevated risk.
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A better understanding of the child protection-forensic psychiatric interface could contribute to prevention of child homicide and suicide. Assailant rates in potential 'risk' groups (1986-95) and the suicide of assailants and male sex abusers (1995-6) were calculated, based upon an epidemiological analysis of police and official records, from within a population of 2.4 million people. There were 27 murderers. Of the murders, 81% were intra-familial. In the group of murderers 55% were 'mentally ill', 27% were 'child neglecters' and 18% were 'violent offenders'. All extra-familial assailants were child sex abusers (CSA). The homicide rate of 'mentally ill mothers' (MIM) was 10 per 100,000 (pht) p.a. of those estimated to be at risk. The 'violent offenders' rate was 44 pht p.a.; 'neglecting' mothers rate, 83 pht p.a.; and violent 'multicriminal child sex abusers' (MCCSA) rate, 870 pht p.a. Half the 'mentally ill' murderers committed suicide, but none of the violent 'MCCSA' assailants. In the CSA cohort of 374, 3.2% of 'sex offences only' (SOO) abusers killed themselves. The violent MCCSA killed at more than 80+ times the rate of MIM; while the suicide rate of SOO abusers was 200 times the general population rate, highlighting the possibilities for the forensic psychiatric-child protection interface in prevention strategies.
Two cases of fathers who committed suicide following the revelation that they had sexually abused their own or other children, are described. The importance of being alert to the possibility of suicide and suicidal acts by family members following a disclosure, is emphasised. Improved liaison and co-ordination between agencies working with these families may enable vulnerable cases to be more readily identified and consequently offered appropriate support and treatment. The revelation that the father in a family has sexually abused his own or other children often precipitates a crisis within the family. The distress suffered by the children themselves and by their mothers is well documented. (Browne and Finkelhor, Hildebrand and Forbes). Goodwin reported suicide attempts in 11 of 201 families, in which sexual abuse had been confirmed. Eight of the attempts were made by daughter-victims. In three of the five cases of mothers who attempted suicide, the abuse was intrafamilial. The impact on father perpetrators, previously a less well researched field, has been receiving more attention of late. Maisch, in a sample of 63 fathers convicted of incest reported that two fathers subsequently committed suicide. Wild has reported on six cases of suicide and three of attempted suicide by perpetrators following disclosure of child sexual abuse. The Cleveland Inquiry Report mentions one father, charged with several sex offences, who committed suicide while awaiting trial. A recent letter to The Guardian newspaper (18th February 1989) by 11 local paediatricians in that area suggests that there are now two such cases of suicide committed by alleged perpetrators.