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This presentation will explore how technology is changing patterns of child sexual victimisation and the implications for policy and practice. Child sexual abuse cases increasingly involve a technological component, as “offline” as well as “online” offenders take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies for abuse, control and surveillance. Offenders are now more likely to be in contact with other offenders via “dark web” communities and the exchange of child sexual abuse material. Victims and survivors face the ongoing distribution of images and videos of their abuse as well as offender networks who are sharing victimisation strategies and information. The technology sector has proven to be disinterested in implementing effective child protection and victim support strategies.
The presentation will examine how traditional conceptualisations of child sexual abuse and related interventions need to be adapted to address the impact of technology on perpetrators and victims. Drawing on cutting-edge research, the presentation will provide foundational information for conceptualisation, intervention and treatment in cases of technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation. Alongside research with perpetrators and professionals, the workshop will showcase the voices and perspectives of survivors of online child sexual exploitation, their experiences of interventions and their recommendations for improved responses. The challenges faced by victims and survivors of online child sexual exploitation, and supportive professionals, will be contextualised against the neglect of the problem of child sexual exploitation in Australia and internationally.
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Dr Michael Salter is a Scientia Fellow and Professor of Criminology at the University of New South Wales. He is an internationally recognised expert in the study of child sexual exploitation, violence against women and complex trauma. His published work includes the books Organised Sexual Abuse (2013, Routledge) and Crime, Justice and Social Media (2017, Routledge) and over fifty papers in international journals and edited collections. His research addresses the policy implications of child sexual exploitation across multiple sectors, including mental health, law enforcement and internet regulation.
Dr Salter was the President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) in 2023 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2018 and the Scientific Committee since 2015. He is the Chair of the Grace Tame Foundation, and he sits on the editorial boards of the journals Child Abuse Review and the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation.
Dr Salter is a member of a number of national and international advisory groups, including: the Research Working Group of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, the Expert Advisory Group of the eSafety Commissioner, the Advisory Group of White Ribbon Australia, and the Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Advisory Group of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. He is the academic member appointed by the Australian government to the National Plan Advisory Group to inform the development and implementation of the National Plan To Prevent Violence Against Women and Their Children. He is a key advisor to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection where he has undertaken a range of projects on strategic responses to child sexual exploitation.
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