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Internet Sex Crimes Against Minors: The Response of Law Enforcement

This report, written by Janis Wolak, Kimberly Mitchell, and David Finkelhor is published by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in Washington, US. The report presents the results of "The National Juvenile Online Victimization (N-JOV) Study" which was undertaken to get a sense of the scope and types of law-enforcement activity in this area and serve as a baseline for monitoring the growth of Internet sex crimes against minors and related law-enforcement activities.

The Internet and computers have come to play a growing role in sex crimes that are committed against children and youth. Since the mid-1990s these developing technologies have posed challenges for law enforcement requiring them to confront situations not anticipated in criminal statutes, master technical advances, develop new investigative techniques, and handle criminal cases that often span multiple jurisdictions. To assist, legislators have acted on a number of fronts creating new statutes that encompass Internet offenses, stiffening penalties, and creating a national clearinghouse for reports of Internet-related crimes against children and the CyberTipline® operated by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. In addition the federal government has increased funding in this area creating Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces to support state and local law enforcement and specialized Internet, child-exploitation units in federal, law-enforcement agencies.