Online child sexual abuse by female offenders: an exploratory study
The expansion of the Internet and the proliferation of information technologies have created new opportunities for the sexual abuse of children. Sex offenders use the Internet to access and distribute indecent images of children and to select victims to groom for the purpose of abuse (Davidson & Gottschalk 2010; Martellozzo, 2010; Martellozzo & Taylor, 2009; Quayle, Erooga, Wright, Taylor, & Harbinson, 2006). It is a commonly held assumption, stated implicitly or explicitly in both public debates and scholarly research, that child sexual abuse is a typically male crime, in so far as offenders are generally held to be men and the level of sexual aggression involved in their offences is seen as closely related to masculine behaviour. This article aims to increase knowledge and understanding of the problem of online child sexual abuse by female offenders. As rehearsed in the literature (Martellozzo, 2011; Webster, Davidson, Bifulco, Pham, & Caretti, 2009), online child sexual abuse is predominantly a crime committed by men and only a small percentage of females sexually abuse children through the Internet. This article presents findings from analysis of qualitative data collected at the Paedophile Unit at the London Metropolitan Police.
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