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Sex Offenders OnlineWhat Clinicians Need to Know (From Handbook of Sex Offender Treatment, P 40-1 - 40-25, 2011, Barbara K. Schwartz, ed. - See NCJ-243091)

NCJ Number
David L. Delmonico, Ph.D.; Elizabeth J. Griffin, M.A.
Date Published
25 pages
This chapter provides basic information on what clinicians should know when assessing and treating sex offenders who use the Internet to commit their offenses.
A section on "Demographics, Rituals, and Behaviors of Online Sex offenders" identifies several theoretical models that differentiate the characteristics, behavior, and clinical considerations of sex offenders who use the Internet and those who do not. Three broad groups of these offenders are identified: situational offenders, preferential offenders, and miscellaneous offenders. These groups are further subdivided based on the type of behaviors in which they engage; victim characteristics, and the motivation underlying the offending behavior. Common methods and characteristics of online sex offenders are also discussed, along with cybersex methods and venues, the World Wide Web, newsgroups, e-mail, enhanced Internet chat, Internet relay chat, videoconferencing/voice chatting, peer-to-peer file sharing, and online gaming. Another section of the chapter discusses "Forensic Trails and Traces," which pertains to the methods used by investigators to document online sex offenses. A separate section of the chapter discusses the "Power of the Internet for Sex Offenders," which presents an overview of why the Internet is such an appealing medium for various abusive sexual behaviors. A "Model for Understanding Internet Sex Users" is proposed, followed by recommendations for assessing and treating these offenders. Assessment focuses on identifying where the offender should be placed in the "Cybersex User Categories," so as to assign the offender to the appropriate treatment model. Testing and screening are discussed. "Underlying and Ongoing Treatment Issues" are discussed in the concluding section. 3 figures and 37 references