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Internet-Facilitated Sexual Offending

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2015
5 pages
This brief on Internet-facilitated sexual offending summarizes what is scientifically known about the topic and related policy implications knowledge gaps , and unresolved controversies in research to date that may guide future research.
A summary of research findings addresses research on offender motivations (sexual interest in children and sexual interest in adolescents), history of actual sexual-contact offending, contact offending in the future, recidivism risk factors, and intervention. The research review indicates that Internet sexual offending is relatively new and that there are substantial gaps in scientific knowledge about Internet offenders and the crimes they commit. There is consistent evidence that the number of cases of Internet sexual offending is rapidly increasing. Most of the research on Internet offenders has focused on child pornography offending. Less is known about the characteristics, contact offending history, and risk of recidivism posed by solicitation offenders, as well as the extent to which they differ from child-pornography offenders and contact sex offenders. Only one in eight Internet offenders has an official record for contact offending, based on available studies. The research suggests that Internet offenders and conventional sex offenders are not synonymous groups. An important area for future research is the relationship between Internet offending and contact offending. 22 references

Date Published: July 1, 2015