Preventing online sexual violence against children by researching and rehabilitating offenders.
The ReDirection project aims to prevent sexual violence against children online.
The aim of Protect Children’s ReDirection project is to produce new research and information on online crimes of sexual violence against children and to develop the ReDirection Self-Help Program for individuals who search for, view, and distribute images and footage that depict sexual violence against children (child sexual abuse material, CSAM).
The ReDirection project is funded by End Violence Against Children.
ReDirection Dark Web Research on CSA Offenders
Protect Children launched two innovative surveys in the dark web to gather unprecedented data about the habits, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of individuals who use CSAM. When individuals search for CSAM on the dark web by using certain key words, they are presented with the possibility to answer the surveys: Help us to help you and No need for help.
Child Sexual Abuse Material, or CSAM, (often misleadingly referred to as ‘child pornography’) includes images, videos, live-streaming, and any other material that depicts sexual violence against a child. CSAM can include material that shows a child in a sexually suggestive or explicit manner partially clothed, or nude, and can include material that does or does not illustrate sexual activity or violence at all.
+20,000 respondents to the surveys
What is child sexual abuse material (CSAM)?
Research Article in Stanford Journal
In February 2022, Protect Children’s first peer-reviewed article on the ReDirection research was published in Stanford Internet Observatory’s Journal of Online Trust and Safety. The article found that many of those who view child sexual abuse materials are also at risk of directly contacting children online.
ReDirection Survey Report: CSAM Users in the Dark Web
In September 2021, Protect Children published the preliminary results of the anonymous survey on CSAM users in the dark web in a comprehensive research report ‘CSAM Users in the Dark Web: Protecting Children Through Prevention’.
The ReDirection Survey Report reveals unprecedented findings from Protect Children’s surveys in the dark web on CSAM users. This new information is invaluable in enhancing global child protection efforts and strengthening the fight to protect children from sexual violence online.
ReDirection Self-Help Program
The anonymous, rehabilitative ReDirection Self-Help Program has been developed by Protect Children in collaboration with psychologists Nina Nurminen & Mikko Ylipekka, Criminal Sanctions Agency.
The ReDirection Self-Help Program is based on the manualised UUSI SUUNTA Individual Program for Sex Offenders, already in use in Finland and Estonia. The program is based on cognitive behavioral therapy and guides users to change their behavior and stop using CSAM. While this can be difficult, 50% of respondents to the Help us to help you survey say that they would like to stop using CSAM and Protect Children believes that it is possible to help CSAM users to stop offending.
Basis of the ReDirection Self-Help Program
Preliminary feedback from users of the ReDirection Self-Help Program suggests that the program successfully decreases CSAM use. 60% said that their use of CSAM has decreased, or they have completely stopped using CSAM after starting the ReDirection Self-Help Program.
The Program has been translated into Spanish and culturally adapted by Red PaPaz and Milena Vásquez-Amézquita PhD. Associate Professor at Universidad El Bosque. The ReDirection Self-Help Program is now available on the Helsinki University Hospital Mental Hub in English and Spanish. Further languages of the ReDirection Self-Help Program will be published in 2023, including Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech, Slovak, German, and Portuguese
“The project primarily focuses on preventive measures and research where the problem is the worst – on the Tor network platforms. The ReDirection programme aims is to prevent the use of illegal child sexual abuse material and provides a new ways to reduce re-victimization.”
Executive Director, Senior Specialist at Protect Children
“We will combine new research in the Tor network with the latest international research results and effective treatment programmes. The project will outline a societal significant perspective and change towards stronger prevention of sexual crimes against children.”
Senior Specialist at the Police University College
"The article found that many of those who view child sexual abuse materials are also at risk of directly contacting children online."
"50% of respondents to the Help us to help you survey say that they would like to stop using CSAM."
Sharing their expertise in the project:
Senior lecturer at the Training Institute for Prison and Probation Services, psychologist
Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London
D.Sc. (Tech.), developer of the search engine Ahmia
Protect Children has received significant, international End Violence funding for the innovative ReDirection project
Online sexual crimes against children are international criminality. The ReDirection project has a significant societal impact in helping to solve the global social and public health problem and promote the rights of the child.
The ReDirection project is funded by End Violence Against Children under the Safe Online investment fund. End Violence Against Children is a global partnership and fund focused solely on Sustainable Development Goal 16.2: ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.