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Improving the Response to

Victims of Child Pornography

The National Center for Victims of Crime is working to improve the response to victims of child pornography through a project funded by the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice. The award will allow the National Center and its partner organizations, the National Children’s Alliance and the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, to hear from victims and families—and the professionals who work with them—about the needs of child pornography victims and the barriers they face in finding or accessing services. It will also allow us to identify promising treatments and policy responses to promote the recovery of child pornography victims.

The Problem

The fields of victim services, law enforcement, and mental health have learned a great deal about meeting the needs of child sexual abuse victims. But what about victims whose abuse is photographed or video taped, and those images are circulated for many years over many jurisdictions?

What are the additional mental health needs of those victims? How do we implement victims’ rights in cases against the producer of the images, the distributor of images, and the possessors of images?

What We're Doing

  1. Working with a national advisory committee of stakeholders.
    • Twenty-one people who have a perspective on these issues, who can provide input and raise awareness.
  2. Analyzing the rights of child pornography victims.
    • How do you keep someone informed when cases recur over decades?
    • How do you adjust victim compensation when cases are never “over”?
    • What’s fair and workable in restitution, when offenders include those who create, who distribute, and who possess the sexual abuse images? And when cases occur in a variety of courts over many years?
    • How do you make it easy for victims to be heard in case after case?
    • Do victims have access to civil justice against all offenders?
  3. Identifying evidence-supported services and promising practices.
    • Literature review
    • interviews with expert practitioners
  4. Analyzing the needs of victims and their families through:

    • An online survey of practitioners: law enforcement/prosecutors, clinicians/mental health professionals, social workers, victim service providers, others
      • What kind of cases are you seeing? What impacts are you seeing?
      • What advice would you give your peers in serving these victims?
      • What needs are you seeing in this population of victims and families?
      • How are victims' rights operating in those cases? What else have you observed?
    • Telephone interviews with families served by child advocacy centers (in cases of sexual abuse, including those WITH and WITHOUT images).
      • How has the crime affected you? Your child?
      • What has been your experience with being notified, applying for victim compensation, and other victim rights?
      • What services have been helpful for you? What other support would have helped?
      • Do we have permission to interview your son/daughter?
    • Telephone interviews of victims (13 and older) in cases of sexual abuse, including those WITH and WITHOUT images.
      • Did someone help you get through the time right after people found out about the abuse? Any change you made for yourself that helped you cope?
      • Do you have advice for other people who talk to kids about their abuse?
      • Standard trauma indicator questions
  5. Making recommendations about victims' rights and services.


Get Involved

If you have thoughts about the needs of child pornography victims, the barriers they face in accessing services, and promising practices in responding to them, please let us know.

Direct any questions or suggestions to ncvcpolicy@ncvc.org.

Thank You

We would like to sincerely thank the many victims, adult survivors, and family members who participated in interviews or the online survey. Your valuable insights will help us improve the nation’s response to victims of this terrible crime.


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Crimes Against Children Research Center logo

 National Center for Victims of Crime logo


Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime logos

This National Center for Victims of Crime project is supported by cooperative agreement 2011-VF-GX-K017, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed those of the project staff and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.