News and Media

Preliminary Findings Provide New Insight into the Crime of Online Luring

Canadian Centre for Child Protection Releases Preliminary Results of Study

October 19, 2012
For Immediate Release

WINNIPEG, MB: A recent increase in media coverage of luring cases in Canada and abroad has garnered the public’s attention and brought the issue of online child sexual exploitation to the forefront of Canadians’ concerns. New preliminary research findings by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection provide greater insight into this crime, as well as ways to better protect children.

“From our preliminary findings, what we are seeing is adult offenders using a variety of ways to manipulate children to increase their compliance in order to sexually exploit them online,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “The research shows that suspects use persistence, threats, and try to normalize sexual behaviour by sharing sexually explicit images and information as well as behaving in sexually inappropriate ways.”

The study examined 264 reports made by the public to Cybertip.ca, Canada’s tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, about online luring between September 2007 and June 2011. Some reports about online luring came from family members of the young person being victimized as well as the victims themselves. A percentage of these reports also included text and chat logs, which aided researchers in further examining the interactions and techniques offenders used in luring children online. Preliminary results reveal:

  • 85.9% of identified victims were girls
  • The mean age of the victims was 13 years
  • The mean age of the suspects was 25
  • In 50% of the cases, reports were listed as being made by a family member, with almost 31% being made by the victim
  • In 24% of the cases, the young person was threatened by the suspect, with the largest number of threats involving the distribution of existing images of the victim
  • In 93.4% of the cases, suspects made specific requests for images or there was a discussion of previously uploaded images. In 30% of these particular cases, it was indicated that the young person had sent images to the suspect
  • In 38.6% of the cases, instant messaging was indicated as the technology used by suspects to lure victims
  • In 35.5% of the cases, suspects either sent victims sexual images of themselves, or requested the young person to go on webcam whereupon the young person would see a sexualized image of the suspect

“This research underscores the importance of education and prevention efforts around online luring,” says McDonald. “It also demonstrates the critical importance of enforcement efforts in identifying those who utilize the Internet to prey on and harm children.”

“We all have a stake in keeping kids safe because our children and youth deserve to grow up in a safe environment,” said Mrs. Laureen Harper. “I applaud the Canadian Centre for Child Protection for their tireless efforts towards ending child abuse.”

“I commend the Canadian Centre for Child Protection for their tremendous work towards ending child abuse,” said M.P. Joyce Bateman. “The sexual exploitation of children is a heinous crime and our Government is committed to taking tough action against it. We increased the maximum penalties for luring a child, we toughened penalties for all sexual offences against children, and we passed legislation to make the reporting of child pornography mandatory by internet service providers”.

The Canadian Centre will be releasing the full research report on online luring in 2013, which will include education and prevention recommendations.

For more information about the online luring and the grooming process please click here.

For more information about prevention and safety strategies with regard to online luring please click here.

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