Preliminary Findings Provide New Insight into the Crime of Online Luring
A recent increase in media coverage of luring cases in Canada and abroad has garnered the public’s attention and brought the issue of online child sexual exploitation to the forefront of Canadians’ concerns. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has undertaken a study to enable it to provide greater insight into this crime, as well as ways to better protect children.
The study will examine 264 reports made by the public to Cybertip.ca, Canada’s tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, about online luring between September 2007 and June 2011. Some reports about online luring came from family members of the young person being victimized as well as the victims themselves. A percentage of these reports also included text and chat logs, which aided our organization in further examining the interactions and techniques offenders used in luring children online. The study is ongoing and preliminary results revealed:
- 85.9% of identified victims were girls
- The mean age of the victims (where victim age was reported) was 13
- The mean age of the suspects (where the reporting person included the suspect’s age) was 25
- In 50% of the cases where the reporting person disclosed her/his relationship to the victim, reports were listed as being made by a family member, with almost 31% of reports being made by the victim
- In 24% of the cases where detailed information was provided, the young person was threatened by the suspect, with the largest number of threats involving the distribution of existing images of the victim
- In 93.4% of the cases where detailed information was provided, suspects made specific requests for images or there was a discussion of previously uploaded images. In 30% of these particular cases, it was indicated that the young person had sent images to the suspect.
- In 38.6% of the cases, instant messaging was indicated as the technology used by suspects to lure victims
- In 35.5% of the cases where detailed information was provided, suspects either sent victims sexual images of themselves, or requested the young person to go on webcam whereupon the young person would see a sexualized image of the suspect
A more thorough review of the online luring cases submitted to Cybertip.ca will be released in the coming months, which will include education and prevention recommendations. To access free downloadable sheets about online luring, the grooming process, as well as prevention and safety strategies, click here.
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