The following twelve recommendations provide suggestions for advancement in the areas of education and public awareness, technical and policy development, and research opportunities.
1: With the majority of child sexual abuse images depicting children 12 years old and under, sexual abuse education is critical for this age group. Education should be provided to help these young children recognize signs of the abuse process and disclose to a trusted adult if they are being abused or photographed inappropriately. This is particularly important for pre-school children because it is less likely that they will recognize that the behavior is not normal (they do not have much experience outside of the home and can be convinced easily). This point is underscored by the age of the children viewed by Cybertip.ca analysts in the vast majority of child sexual abuse images. Clearly, parents, grandparents, child care workers, neighbors, medical professionals, and other adults also need to learn to recognize possible signs of abuse. Education in this area has to be comprehensive and build life skills in the children. Tools should be provided to caregivers in the areas of healthy parenting and understanding and recognizing signs of sexual abuse.
2: Collaboration between hotlines around the world to begin tracking infants and toddlers in child abuse imagery. This will provide a better breakdown of the age of the children in images and assist in providing accurate numbers about whether there is a growing audience for images of very young children being abused. This could prompt important dialogue regarding prevention strategies to better protect pre-school children.
3: Consideration should be given to gender-related education. With an overrepresentation of girl children in sexual abuse images, supplementary prevention material should be created for them, and should specifically target girl-centered environments (i.e. Girl Guides).
This may help in the effort to educate girls about sexual abuse, how to recognize it and to report abusive behavior.
4: Explore additional opportunities to work with law enforcement and Internet service and content providers to remove illegal content from Canadian servers.
5: Establish international standards for the personal information a registrant is required to provide when registering a new domain name. This could include proof of name and address, residency in a particular country, and contact information. This information could be valuable in the event of an investigation, assisting in determining the owner of a child pornography website, and potentially rescuing children from ongoing sexual abuse. This would require collaboration with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
6: Partner with domain name registrants to have domains hosting illegal content discarded from use. This would prevent new website owners from purchasing domains known to host child pornography and reusing for the same purpose. Due to the fact that the domain names become important marketing tools, and become well-known to consumers of child abuse images, steps need to be taken to remove them permanently from circulation.
7: Further research is needed on the impact of child sexual abuse on victims and whether the Internet has changed the nature and extent of their trauma and their healing process. Are victims impacted differently if they know photographs have permanently recorded their abuse? What if they are aware that the images are being distributed and propagated on the Internet?
Understanding the impacts could provide better treatment for victims, and guide how victims should be supported and managed through the criminal justice system.
8: Further collaboration and data sharing is needed between organizations dealing with this content area. Assessment of images by tiplines is likely duplicated given the high percentage of child sexual abuse images analyzed on more than one occasion. A collaborative database of SHA-1 values (centralized or decentralized) could have a significant impact on reducing resource requirements and exposure to imagery.
9: Further research is needed to determine how words are being used on websites hosting child sexual abuse images. Websites containing child abuse material could be automatically identified using this word data set and a probabilistic algorithm. This data set could also be queried for new and emerging terms/words used amongst individuals who seek or trade child sexual abuse content.
10: Carefully track the use of unique title bars on websites hosting child abuse images. Following the movement of these websites will provide a clearer picture of how content moves on the Internet.
11: Establish a coalition of stakeholders, similar to the Financial Coalition in the US, to develop solutions to the commercial aspects of child sexual abuse images. This would involve working with partners in law enforcement, the financial industry, and Internet service and content providers to follow the websites to their source and eradicate the problem.
12: When a site has been identified as fast flux,2 it is possible to determine which IP addresses are being used to serve the content. Tiplines around the world could work with Internet service providers to notify them of compromised computers on their network. An Internet service provider could choose to suspend the customer’s service until the infected machine is fixed.