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The potential of digital evidence to contribute to risk assessment of internet offenders

The potential of digital evidence to contribute to risk assessment of internet offenders Abstract There is a widely held view among the general public and some professionals that individuals convicted or cautioned solely for internet-related offences inevitably present a significant risk of direct harm to children. Insofar as evidence in relation to this exists, it seems to indicate that internet offenders constitute a heterogeneous group, some of whom may present a significant risk of future contact offending, but many of whom, perhaps a majority, do not. It is essential that risk assessment procedures are developed which can discriminate reliably between relatively high-risk and low-risk groups. The sheer volume, complexity and inaccessibility of digital evidence has deterred a systematic analysis of the relationship between downloaded material and potential risk. However, rather than being regarded as an impenetrable confusion of information, it is possible to regard downloaded material as a golden opportunity to analyse unequivocal evidence of sexual and possibly also personality deviance known to be associated with risk. It also offers the potential of informing and validating other assessment procedures, including interview. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Sexual Aggression Taylor & Francis

The potential of digital evidence to contribute to risk assessment of internet offenders

Journal of Sexual Aggression , Volume 16 (1): 20 – Mar 1, 2010
20 pages

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References (34)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers
ISSN
1742-6545
eISSN
1355-2600
DOI
10.1080/13552600903428839
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract There is a widely held view among the general public and some professionals that individuals convicted or cautioned solely for internet-related offences inevitably present a significant risk of direct harm to children. Insofar as evidence in relation to this exists, it seems to indicate that internet offenders constitute a heterogeneous group, some of whom may present a significant risk of future contact offending, but many of whom, perhaps a majority, do not. It is essential that risk assessment procedures are developed which can discriminate reliably between relatively high-risk and low-risk groups. The sheer volume, complexity and inaccessibility of digital evidence has deterred a systematic analysis of the relationship between downloaded material and potential risk. However, rather than being regarded as an impenetrable confusion of information, it is possible to regard downloaded material as a golden opportunity to analyse unequivocal evidence of sexual and possibly also personality deviance known to be associated with risk. It also offers the potential of informing and validating other assessment procedures, including interview.

Journal

Journal of Sexual AggressionTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 1, 2010

Keywords: Internet; risk assessment; sex offender; digital evidence; pornography; sexually explicit material

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