Online Child Sexual Abuse: Prevalence and Characteristics of the Victims and Offenders

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Today, with the widespread use of the internet, online child sexual abuse, facilitated through the rise in malicious sites that offer perpetrators the opportunity to interact with children, has emerged. Online child sexual abuse involves the obtaining, displaying, collecting, and distributing of sexual content for the purpose of deriving sexual satisfaction from a child. Online child sexual abuse threatens community mental health in terms of the harm it can cause to the mental health of children and families. The relevant literature includes only a limited number of studies on online child sexual abuse, with most focusing on child pornography. In this review, a definition of online child sexual abuse and its characteristics, the prevalence of online sexual abuse, and the characteristics of online child sexual abuse victims and offenders are presented in the light of the current literature. In addition, the review also provides information on how pedophilic culture facilitates child sexual abuse and, on the strategies, criminals employ to avoid being caught. The increased amount of time spent online and the development of new strategies by criminals escalates the risk of children being exposed to sexual abuse online. Therefore, it is crucial that online child sexual abuse be detected and prevented to protect community mental health. This review aims to raise awareness in mental health professionals by presenting information on online child sexual abuse literature and to contribute valuable data to future studies on this subject.
Child Health, Child Psychiatry, Internet, Psychiatric Nursing, Sexual Abuse of Child
Cennet Kara Özçalık, Rahime Atakoğlu. Online child sexual abuse: Prevalence and characteristics of the victims and offenders. J Psy Nurs. 2021; 12(1): 76-81