UNIVERSITY OF KENT
Understanding and improving help-seeking by people at risk of perpetrating online child sexual exploitation and abuse
The Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kent is a group of leading psychologists working on offending behaviour, including sexual exploitation and abuse. In partnership with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and researchers based in South Africa, Mexico, the US and UK, this project will shed light on the psychological processes through which people at risk of online sexual exploitation and abuse may instead seek professional support. In addition, the group will explore the efficacy and impact of prevention interventions targeting people engaging with online abuse. Overall, the project will ask a fundamental – and often overlooked – question: who seeks help for child sexual exploitation and abuse, and can we get more people to do so before committing a crime?
This project will expand the group’s existing model of psychological predicators of help-seeking for people at risk of offending, and examine how to amplify the psychological factors that support such help-seeking behaviours. At the same time, the project will also look into the psychological barriers that prevent help-seeking, and explore ways to weaken those barriers in the digital sphere.