Working with professionals from other countries and establishing
practice guidelines are crucial to combating child pornography on
the internet, experts agreed last week.
Anders Persson, a detective inspector with the Swedish police in
Stockholm, told delegates at Community Care Live that the
internet had increased the distribution of child pornography, but
had also been a tool in the detection of child abusers.
Independent sexual crime consultant Ray Wyre said child
pornography on the internet had also raised new problems for social
work practitioners. “Local authorities, because of the internet,
are having to deal with incredibly difficult problems,” Wyre said.
“What do you do if the person has children? Do you get social
services in to examine the children? We do not know yet.”
Persson said there were also a whole range of important issues
around how to deal with the victims of abuse once they had been
identified from a photo. He said research had shown that victims
often found it harder to cope with the knowledge that their image
would be around for ever and could be seen by anyone, than to cope
with the actual incident.
Wyre identified specific problems in the assessment of those
caught sending or downloading child pornography. “There is no
history of assessment in these areas, and we are often dealing with
a very different client group,” he said. Professionals involved in
assessment also need extra training in internet technology and
processes, he said.
Wyre also called for more research into any link between people
viewing child pornography and carrying out abuse.
“There are no guidelines. Everyone is acting off the hoof. We
need some working parties to look at these issues,” Wyre said.