Child sexual abuse material or CSAM has become the more common term for child pornography. The term accurately captures the reality of these images and videos. CSAM is distributed heavily through online channels. It has become easier for individuals to perpetuate these videos and images through multiple platforms. These platforms can include social media, online gaming, and email .
According to the US Sentencing Commission, an increase in access to digital and mobile technology caused a 422% spike in the number of CSAM production offenders sentenced over 15 years, from 98 offenders in the fiscal year 2005 to 512 in the fiscal year 2019 . This number only continues to rise as offenders have quick and easy access to their victims and CSAM. Smartphone technology, advanced computer technology, and live streaming capabilities allow offenders to produce and perpetuate CSAM via remote locations away from their victims.
The crimes committed against these CSAM victims include child sexual abuse imagery, online child exploitation and enticement, child sexual molestation, and child trafficking. Cyber Tipline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) states that in 2021 they received 21.7 million reports of the crimes listed above . Often child victims are involved in some form of a physical sexual offense. This abuse is usually committed by someone they know and believe they can trust.
Offenders will use methods such as grooming to normalize the sexual abuse and encourage secrecy between themselves and the victim. The US Sentencing Commission reports that approximately 60% of offenders in the fiscal year 2019 held a position of trust over their child victim . This can be family members, teachers, sports coaches, and anyone with connections to the child.
Victims find themselves dealing with the effects of their sexual abuse even after they are out of their abuser's reach. They are filled with guilt and shame because they were not able to stop the abuse. They struggle with intimacy and relationships due to post-traumatic stress and may be unable to engage in sexual activity or set boundaries. Victims may also abuse drugs and alcohol as a method to cope with their childhood abuse. CSAM victims face long-lasting emotional damage as the images and videos of their sexual abuse continue to be perpetuated online. Abuse survivors must continue to relive their trauma each time these videos and pictures resurface.
How ADF can Help CSAM Cases
Digital forensic investigators can aid persecutors and attorneys in the process of collecting electronically stored information that can be used as an invaluable resource and assist attorneys in strengthening their cases. Attorneys can also employ digital forensics services to help determine the strength of potential litigation or gain insight into drafting a discovery request .
Today's investigators respond to CyberTips and work quickly to determine if they need to confiscate devices, take a suspect into custody, and identify any victims. ADF works with Project VIC and CAID data to speed investigations from on-scene investigations to the forensic lab. ADF Solutions software helps speed CSAM investigations by allowing for automatic and manual tagging of images and videos.
ADF software is also equipped with image classification which works on all the collected pictures and videos coming from the file system, archives, databases, thumbnails, documents, emails, messages, downloads, and unallocated space. Users can select the exact confidence value to show more pictures of the same class as time permits.
With the use of ADF solutions digital forensic software prosecutors and attorneys can aid CSAM victims in seeking restitution and representing them in court. Obtaining the evidence needed to prosecute the abusers and locate CSAM helps prosecutors and attorneys empower their victims and end the cycle of their online abuse.
Learn more about ADF Solutions and how CSAM cases are solved with DEI PRO.