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Contexts and Characteristics of Imaged-Based Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children: Incident Dynamics in a National Sample

NCJ Number
Child Maltreatment Volume: Online Dated: February 2024
Date Published
February 2024
14 pages

In this study, researchers examined contexts and characteristics of image-based sexual exploitation and abuse of children (IBSEAC).


This paper describes incident characteristics and dynamics associated with six specific forms of image-based sexual exploitation and abuse of children (IBSEAC). Findings show substantial diversity in incident characteristics within and across the six forms of IBSEAC (nonconsensual sharing of sexual images, nonconsensual taking or making of images, forced image recruitment, threatened sharing, voluntary image sharing with an older adult, and commercial sexual exploitation involving images). Some notable patterns include frequent involvement of perpetrators who are other youth or young adults, who are known in-person to the victim, and who are intimate partners. The diversity and complexity of dynamics revealed in this study underscores the need for careful design and evaluation of prevention programs and the core messages directed at youth. Data were collected on a national sample of 2639 individuals aged 18-to-28 from a probability-based online panel. Respondents completed a self-administered survey questionnaire, providing detailed follow-up information on their experiences of image-based sexual victimization before the age of 18. A total of 607 incidents of IBSEAC were included in the analyses. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: February 1, 2024