F: Ethical and legal challenges

Thursday 24 May 11.00 - 13.00

Moderator: Lars Lööf, Council of the Baltic Sea States and ROBERT


Sharon W. Cooper
Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
School of Medicine


Ethical dilemmas associated with violence in cyberspace [PDF]

As child abuse image victimization becomes more prevalent, ethical challenges are becoming apparent with no easy answers. This presentation will provide case studies that illustrate the diverse nature of these problems as well as an in-depth discussion regarding options and strategies for the investigative, prosecution and therapeutic phases of a case. Included for review will be the care and disposition of the victim who is a foreign national adoptee, obtained to facilitate online victimization; the difficulty and or relevance of conducting a forensic interview of a child who appears to have been drugged for sexual abuse images; the question of whether children should ever be shown their own images in the investigative phase of a case; the role of ethical community response and support when a multivictim offender is found to be in possession of images of hundreds of preverbal children and the conundrum when a close family member is convicted of producing and dist ributing sexual abuse images of sleeping young child relatives and family members seek therapeutic advice regarding maintaining secrecy to protect the children from any or all elements of the truth. Cases illustrating each of these circumstances will be presented. Recognition of the rights of the child victim begs for careful consideration and establishment of practice guidelines for investigators, prosecutors, and therapists before such challenging situations occur. In some circumstances, consultation with an ethics committee might provide the best recommendations for procedural solutions.


Alisdair A. Gillespie
Professor of Criminal Law and Justice
De Montfort University

Legal responses to adolescent production of child abuse material [PDF]

International responses to child abuse images have increasingly led to the criminalisation of a wide variety of material, including material that has ostensibly been produced consensually and by adolescents. At the same time few instruments have specifically addressed the issue of adolescents who produce material that could constitute child abuse image material. This paper will consider what some of the legal implications of adolescent production are, including the paradox contained in some national instruments whereby an adolescent of a certain age can legally have sexual intercourse but may not be photographed. The paper will discuss alternative strategies and suggest that this is an issue that needs to be addressed by national and international policy makers.


Ms Linda van Krimpen LL.M
Mr Steven Tjelsma (Presenter)
Bureau of the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings
and sexual violence against children 

The Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children, and her report on child abuse images [PRZ]

The report on child pornography from the Dutch Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings is available in the resource section.

On October 12 2011, the Dutch National Rapporteur – mrs. Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen – presented her First Report on Child Pornography to the Minister of Security and Justice and the State Secretary of Public Health, Welfare and Sport. Afterwards, the Minister stated he would adopt the main recommendation of the Rapporteur: to form an integrated approach to protect children against sexual violence.


The proposed session will highlight:

-       the importance of independent monitoring mechanisms, and

-       the Rapporteur’s blue print for an integrated approach against child sexual abuse.


Independent monitoring mechanisms are vital for democratic societies as they critically review all governmental responses to human trafficking and sexual violence against children. The fact that the Rapporteur has an independent position is crucial in this respect. It forms the basis for an objective and non biased view on the developments and the pro’s and the con’s of the Dutch counter-trafficking and sexual abuse policies and practices. Her reports (and the fact that they are issued regularly), therefore function as an impetus both to the government and to Parliament to perform their respective tasks of fighting sexual abuse of children and monitoring the effectiveness of that fight.


The Rapporteur conducted research on the phenomenon of child abuse images, and both current and possible responses by the government. She concluded that common denominator of child abuse images, grooming, sexual exploitation, and sexual abuse is sexual violence against children. If current and future policy and interventions are to be effective, the Rapporteur urges the government to develop an integrated approach to protect children against sexual violence.

Of course, ICT is inextricably bound up with sexual violence. Therefore, an integrated approach has to embed and embrace the online world in order to protect the children of today. For example, police should not only seize data carriers in CP cases, but in every situation where there are indications of sexual violence. And, although this year alone hundreds of children were victims of online sexual violence in the Netherlands, no treatments are available for these children which address their specific problems. Furthermore, the Dutch Advice and Notification Centers for Child Abuse do not have a digital framework yet which consequently could result in overlooking online (clues of) sexual violence.

Most importantly, ‘integrated’ also means preventing sexual violence from happening in the first place and preventing re-offending and re-victimization. Responses targeting different potential offenders, victims and situations should be installed.

Victoria Baines


Online child sexual exploitation - A new era for EU law enforcement [PDF]

The establishment of the European Cybercrime Centre in 2013 will be a landmark in the European Union's fight against crime online, including child sexual exploitation. For the first time, data on online child sexual exploitation from 27 Member States will be routinely collated and analysed to identify trends in offending and victimisation and - crucially - emerging vulnerabilities.


Building on Europol's existing capability, the European Cybercrime Centre will provide a collaborative response to online child sexual exploitation, harnessing the intelligence of a range of stakeholders, including law enforcement and the judiciary, industry and non-governmental organisations. It will also serve as the EU's hub for online law enforcement operations, the development of investigative tools, techniques and good practice, and for strategic insight into online child sexual exploitation.


This presentation will briefly describe the plans for the centre's research capability, starting with Europol's production of an environmental scan for the Virtual Global Taskforce, which will provide law enforcement specialists around the world with a review of recent academic research, and identify current and potential future trends based on expert consensus.