Research project which targets potential perpetrators


Projekt partner:
Center for Psychiatric Research at Karolinska Institutet, in collaboration with Anova

Stockholm, Sweden

Ulrikah Reihs
[email protected]

To end child sexual abuse it is essential to change the behavior of the perpetrators – before they abuse a child. In order to be part of a network and gain access to abuse images, there are often requirements to contribute new material. This significantly increases the risk of a person going from watching documented sexual abuse of children online to also committing sexual abuse of children offline and creating their own material for dissemination.A report from ECPAT Sweden states that 48 percent of those convicted of possession of child sexual abuse material had also been convicted of other types of child sexual abuse.  Therefore it is extremely important to identify and stop perpetrators before they abuse a child, as well as to reduce the demand for images and videos of child sexual abuse.

Change of behaviour

There is a great lack of knowledge and lack of efficient methods to prevent potential perpetrators from committing child sexual abuse. Sweden is one of a few countries which offers support to potential perpetrators. In collaboration with Anova, a sexual medicine clinic at Karolinska University Hospital, and funded by Childhood and run by the Center for Psychiatric Research at Karolinska Institutet, the project Prevent_IT tests and evaluates a new method with the aim to change the behavior of persons who watch and distribute photos and videos of child sexual abuse. The method offers internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which takes place anonymously and in English.

Great global interest

The experience and knowledge about the project’s target group is well-documented throughout the study and will serve as a basis for future researchers to find effective ways to prevent child sexual abuse. The objective is to find an efficient treatment model that can be used in Sweden and globally. The project has already garnered significant international interest.

Photo/illustration: private