ReDirection Webinar: A Global Discussion with Experts on How to Prevent Child Sexual Violence Online
On Monday 5 September 2022, Protect Children held an online event attended by over 100 experts from around the world. The ReDirection International Expert Webinar shared updates from experts on Developments in Offender-Focused Prevention to Protect Children from Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA).
The recording of the webinar is available upon request. Please contact Tegan Insoll if you are interested.
The webinar began with a warm welcome from Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen, Executive Director of Protect Children, followed by an introduction to Protect Children's ReDirection project by Anna Ovaska, Deputy Manager and Legal Specialist. The ReDirection project, funded by End Violence Against Children, aims to prevent sexual violence against children by conducting innovative and unconventional research, and translating the research results into concrete offender-focused prevention measures.
Tegan Insoll, Researcher & Specialist at Protect Children, gave a presentation on the latest findings from the ReDirection research conducted on individuals using child sexual abuse material on the dark web. Tegan explained the success of the unconventional methodology adopted by Protect Children to gather data from a largely un-studied population of anonymous online offenders.
The key takeaways from the research are worrying, however a strong message of hope shines through. The ReDirection research shows that there is an opportunity for change, as many offenders indicate that they are willing to seek help for their behaviour.
"Through our innovative methodology we have the opportunity to provide effective prevention resources to those offenders who are willing to seek help - and ultimately protect children from harm"
Dr. Salla Huikuri, Researcher and Project Manager at Police University College of Finland (POLAMK), presented her research on darknet forums of child sexual abusers and findings on the dynamics within these communities. Dr. Huikuri's latest research conducted under the ReDirection project is available here: The Darkest Side of the Darknet: How Do Online Communities of Pedophiles Contribute to the Justification of Sexual Violence Against Children?
Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen presented on the ReDirection Self-Help Program, an anonymous CBT-based program developed by senior psychologists and psychotherapists. The program aims to guide individuals who view child sexual abuse material to behaviour change to stop their use of harmful material.
Anton Toni Klančnik, Specialist in AP Twins (EUROPOL - 03 European Cyber Crime Centre EC3), spoke about the distinction between ‘prevention’ and ‘raising awareness’, and the specific questions we all need to ask ourselves before we take any further steps in prevention activity.
Stuart Allardyce, Director of Stop it Now! Scotland (Stop it Now! UK & Ireland) discussed the importance of offering evidence-based help resources & intervention programs to protect children from sexual violence online and the need to ensure consistency in service provision.
Johanna Lätth, Forensic Psychologist and PhD Candidate; Allison McMahan, PTP Psychologist and PhD Candidate; and Malin Joleby, PhD and Post Doctoral Researcher, from Karolinska Institutet, Rahm research lab, presented results and future directions of the Prevent It CBT program.
Miguel Garcia Egido, Grant Management Specialist, Safe Online (End Violence Against Children), discussed prevention of online sexual abuse of children before it happens as a priority of End Violence, and presented examples of preventative public health initiatives funded by the End Violence Safe Online fund.
Finally, Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen concluded the event with closing words and a call to action.
Thank you to all speakers who participated in the event, and to all registrees for attending.