Combating online child sexual abuse material. An explorative study of Swedish police investigations
Abstract: Online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is a growing problem that transcends geographical borders. In order to improve cooperation between international law enforcement, knowledge concerning the jurisdiction, procedure and issues with investigations in different countries is needed. This study aims to provide information on the Swedish context by (a) exploring how the Swedish police work with investigations of online CSAM, and (b) identifying potential challenges. The research questions have been answered by qualitative interviews with law enforcement personnel. Systematic text condensation revealed that there is a significant difference in the procedure between the police regions and that four major problems face the police. First, the police are dependent upon digital forensic experts but have limited access to their expertise and other resources due to the crime not being prioritised. Second, Internet Service Providers are not required to save their users IP-addresses, which complicates identification of the suspect. Third, a holistic perspective within the police is required. Investigators should work with all sexual crimes against children and not just CSAM, in order to be able to see reoccurring elements in the identification process. Four, there is a lack of public knowledge concerning CSAM that affects the resources and number of cases the police receive. The Swedish police is currently creating regional cybercrime centres in an attempt to create a national strategy for computer-related investigations. The implications on the victim identification process and development of treatment for offenders are discussed, as well as future directions. Clearer guidelines are needed.
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