Research at UNH Crimes Against Children Research Center Shows that Online and In-person Sexual Predators are Equally Risky

Research at UNH Crimes Against Children Research Center Shows that Online and In-person Sexual Predators are Equally Risky

Aug 19, 2013

Recent research from the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center finds that sex offenders who target teens increasingly use Internet and cell phone communications to lure teens into sexual relationships. In crimes that involve such communications, offenders who meet and recruit youth online operate in much the same way as offenders who meet and know youth in ordinary offline environments.

“These are all serious crimes,” said lead author Janis Wolak, a senior researcher at the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center. “But the so-called ‘online predators’ are not more insidious.”

"We should stop emphasizing the dangers of online strangers. We should start teaching children and adolescents to understand and resist sexual advances from adults, whether met online or in-person and whether made through online communications or in-person. That would do more to protect young people,” Wolak said.

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The UNH Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) works to combat crimes against children by providing high-quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners. CCRC is concerned with research about the nature of crimes including child abduction, homicide, rape, assault, and physical and sexual abuse as well as their impact. Visit the center online at http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/index.html.

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