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Publish Date: April 2021 | Download PDF |

Description of Document:

This position statement by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers on Internet-facilitated sexual offending was approved in April 2021


Internet-facilitated sexual offending includes a range of different crimes:

  • Viewing, trading, or producing child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM; child pornography in legal language ) to be traded or posted online;
  • Making contact with a child, adolescent or other vulnerable person for sexual chats (electronic correspondence) or exploitation such as convincing a child to view or produce pornographic images (e.g., having children take and email a nude photo of themselves);
  • Arranging face-to-face meetings to commit sexual offenses (sometimes referred to as “luring” or “traveler” offending);
  • Non-consensual sharing of images (sometimes referred to as “revenge pornography”) ; and
  • Sextortion (use of sexual chats or images to coerce someone to engage in unwanted behavior).

Both criminal justice and clinical data suggest there have been steady increases in the number of cases prosecuted and, consequently, the number of clinical referrals for these behaviors.[i]This has resulted in increasing research and clinical attention to this phenomenon.

A primary concern for professionals who evaluate and treat individuals who have committed Internet-facilitated sexual offenses is the risk these individuals may pose for direct contact offenses with victim(s), or future Internet-facilitated sexual offenses such as accessing and/or distributing child sexual exploitation material.

Adults convicted of a sexual crime must register with the police for the sexual offender registry in the United States (U.S.), as well as several other countries around the world. Sometimes they have to register for the rest of their lives, and much of the information about them is posted on the internet for everyone to see.

Publication Type:
Policy Papers