onlinePROTECT is committed to enhancing child safety, and supports the aim of eliminating child sexual exploitation on the internet through its research, training and consultation, and through the promotion of inter-agency collaboration.

onlinePROTECT is a research collaboration that addresses the safety of children and young people in online and offline environments, by focusing on offenders who engage in online sex offences against minors. A specific research focus is the engagement in online Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM; also known as child pornography).

onlinePROTECT has three main research areas:

  • Connector.

    Offending – answers to Why? and How?

    How do we understand an individuals offence pathway?

  • Connector.

    Establishing risk

    How does the current evidence-base translate into meaningful risk assessment?

  • Connector.

    Stopping offending

    How useful are the currently available assessment tools in changing behaviour? What needs to be part of a successful intervention?

The onlinePROTECT research programme is designed to balance the need for knowledge generation with practical outcomes for professionals who work in this area. For example, improved assessment strategies are needed by the police for the forensic analaysis of confiscated computers. The offenders’ suggestions about preventative methods are also informative for the internet industry, in targeting the availability and accessibility of CSEM online, and in post-arrest treatment programmes for offenders. onlinePROTECT is guided by a steering group and is networked with national and international expert advisors from offender and victim services, psychology and computer science, police services and the National Offender Management Service.