Thursday, 14 March 2019
Media release

New research projects to reduce child exploitation material

Eight innovative research projects funded from the Child Exploitation Material Reduction Research Program (CEMRRP) are set to commence.

The CEMRRP seeks to reduce the production, distribution, storage and viewing of child exploitation material (CEM).

The program was established by the Australian Institute of Criminology in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) after receiving $800,000 funding over two years via the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Twenty three submissions were received and from those eight projects were selected for funding grants. 

The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said each project will undertake quality research relevant to both current and future effective prevention, detection and response to CEM.

“The projects are undertaking valuable steps to reducing CEM with research varying from constructing an easily accessible toolkit, to enhancing the capabilities of online investigators,” Mr Dutton said.

The projects include looking at ways to prevent and discourage uploading of CEM, developing discovery and detection tools like biometrics, as well as psychological intervention approaches to avert repeat offending.

“Research from these projects will help to identify new solutions to this critical issue, and ultimately reduce exploitation of children.

“The grants encourage the implementation and sustainability of effective and efficient CEM reduction, significantly contributing to stopping child exploitation crime and making Australia safer for our children.

“I would like to congratulate the successful research project teams and commend their work to prevent the exploitation of children,” Mr Dutton said.

Research projects being funded are:

  • Griffith University, University of New South Wales and Michigan State University – ‘Boosting Crime Prevention and Crime Detection Capabilities of Online Investigators: A Script Analysis of Creation and Distribution of Child Exploitation Material’. This project examines the crime commission processes involved in CEM offending.
  • The University of Adelaide, Flinders University, San Jose State University and Michigan State University – ‘Developing automated audio and facial recognition biometrics tools for detecting child exploitation material’. This project will enhance detection of CEM using biometric identification technologies.
  • Griffith University and Queensland Police – ‘Developing a protocol to assist police who pose as juveniles to proactively engage online sex offenders’. This project will develop instructions for police who pose as children online to detect CEM offenders.
  • The University of Tasmania, LaTrobe University, University College London and the University of Canberra – ‘Automated internet warnings to prevent the uploading of child exploitation material produced by children and young adults’. This project extends earlier research that tests the effectiveness of automated warnings on Websites to deter CEM offenders.
  • Swinburne University and Monash University – ‘Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: A two-tiered psychological intervention approach’. This project develops two treatment programs for use with individuals who engage in, or are at risk of engaging in, CEM offences.
  • University of New South Wales and Queensland Police – ‘Understanding the role of parents in the creation and dissemination of child exploitation material (CEM) of their children’. This study examines the problem of CEM created and distributed by parents of children.
  • University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology – ‘Criminal justice responses to child exploitation material offending: A systematic review and interactive evidence and gap map’. This project reviews the effectiveness of various criminal justice responses to CEM offending.
  • The University of the Sunshine Coast – ‘LEADing evidence-informed Child Exploitation Material (CEM) Reduction’ This Project will develop an online toolkit (website) that makes the latest CEM reduction research available for practitioners.