Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

New European study aims to better understand child abuse online

19 May 2014

Researchers from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) will undertake a new study which aims to achieve a better understanding of online child abuse, thereby preventing online child abuse while identifying new strategies for law enforcement. This study will be run in collaboration with other institutes in the UK, Italy, and the Netherlands and is funded by the European Commission.

This project, entitled 'Developing research informed good practice policing and industry collaborative models in preventing online child abuse and profiling child victims', will use existing evidence of the online behaviour of perpetrators of crimes such as online grooming and accessing indecent child images which will inform policing and industry best practice in prevention of such crime. It will publish a set of good practice models and guidelines which will help in identifying potential child victims of grooming, while creating a safer online environment for children and young people.

The study is being undertaken by the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, Tilburg University (Netherlands); Kore University of Enna in Sicily and is being led by Middlesex University, the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS).

Speaking on this cross-EU study, Mary Aiken, Director of RCSI's CyberPsychology Research Centre said, ‘Keeping vulnerable children and young people safe when online is a priority for our work. This new study will help us to further understand those who are preying on children across the globe. This is an issue that crosses borders and these findings will resonate across the globe. From our launch symposium last October, a central part of our vision for the CyberPsychology Research Centre has been to become an academic resource for law enforcement across the world and we are delighted to work with CATS and our EU partners in furthering that vision'.

Dr Ciarán Mc Mahon, Research & Development Co-Ordinator at the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre added, ‘This is an important first step in the growth and expansion of the Research Centre, not only with regard to strengthening existing collaborative relationships and developing new academic partnerships, but also in terms of adding high quality researchers to our team'.

Founded in 1784, RCSI's mission is to develop healthcare leaders who make a difference worldwide. RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences organisation which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland.