Risk Factors for Child Sexual Abuse Material Users Contacting Children Online: Results of an Anonymous Multilingual Survey on the Dark Web
Tegan Insoll, Anna Katariina Ovaska, Juha Nurmi, Mikko Aaltonen & Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen
This study explores a sample of 1,546 anonymous individuals who voluntarily responded to our "Help us to help you" survey when searching for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the dark web. Nearly half (42%) of the respondents reported that they had sought direct contact with children through online platforms after viewing CSAM, and 58% reported feeling afraid that viewing CSAM might lead to sexual acts with a child or adult. This study analyses whether certain risk factors are linked to a higher likelihood of contacting children after viewing CSAM. It finds that certain factors are associated with a self-reported likelihood of having contacted children online after viewing CSAM, including more frequent use of CSAM, older age of first exposure to CSAM, viewing CSAM depicting toddlers and infants, having thoughts of self-expressing prior to viewing CSAM, and being in contact with other CSAM users.