The motivation-facilitation model and its application to offences relating to child sexual exploitation material
I recently attended the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) conference, where I presented an overview of the research I am carrying out as part of my PhD. This post will give a brief summary of the key points taken from the presentation.
Recent years have seen a proliferation of Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM) on the internet. Having heard numerous individuals within the Criminal Justice System reiterate the fact that “we cannot arrest our way out of this problem”, it seems crucial that we continue with research efforts that further enhance our understanding of the reasons why men become involved in offences relating to CSEM. In particular, identifying and managing those at risk of crossing over from viewing CSEM to engage in contact sexual offending continues to present a major theoretical and research challenge.
“Identifying and managing those at risk of crossing-over from CSEM to contact sexual offending continues to present a major challenge.”
The Motivation-Facilitation Model of Sexual Offending against Children (M-F; as detailed here) is one explanation that postulates that cross-over from viewing CSEM to contact offending requires both motivation (primarily sexual preference for children) and facilitation (primarily antisocial tendencies such as impulsivity). My PhD research will use the M-F model as a basis for exploring proposed differing subgroups of CSEM offenders. For example, it has been suggested that there are two different groups of individuals accessing CSEM online: (1) those motivated by a desire to engage in contact sex offending; contact-driven and (2) those whose offending is confined to the online environment; fantasy-driven. Contact-driven offenders are said to present a higher risk of escalating from viewing CSEM to contact offending, in comparison to fantasy-driven offenders. Therefore, we would perhaps expect to find that the group of contact-driven CSEM offenders are more likely to have a sexual preference for children and present as more hostile or impulsive, when compared to fantasy-driven CSEM offenders.
“Contact-driven offenders are said to present a higher risk of escalating from viewing CSEM to contact offending, in comparison to fantasy-driven offenders.”
One of the challenges with theoretical developments to date is that they have emerged from research that has predominantly been based on convicted offenders, a group of individuals that represent only the “tip of the iceberg”, and therefore developments to date could potentially be distorted. The only data that we have on “undetected” offenders comes from a German confidential support-service (Prevention Project Dunkelfeld) for managing self-reported sexual interest in children. To overcome this challenge, my research will also provide the first comparison study of detected (UK) and undetected (Germany) offenders, with the aim of identifying if there are any differences between these two groups. This will form part of the larger research project that will access individuals at differing stages of their offending pathways.
Presentation slides can be downloaded here.
For further questions about my research project, please email email@example.com
Kettleborough, D. (2015, November 8). The motivation-facilitation model and its application to offences relating to child sexual exploitation material [Weblog post]. Retrieved from http://wp.me/p2RS15-c4.
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