Preventing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) offending: A review of initiatives and the evidence

Ms Alexandra Gannoni1, Dr Alexandra Voce1, Ms Sarah Napier1, Ms Hayley Boxall1

1Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra, Australia


Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is a significant issue associated with a range of harms to victims who experience both child sexual abuse and re-victimisation with the ongoing viewing and distribution of such material. There has been increasing interest in methods that disrupt the viewing, production and distribution of CSAM, focusing on deterring motivated individuals already engaging in these behaviours. However, there is increasing recognition of the need for interventions that attempt to disrupt emerging patterns of risky online behaviours that may escalate to CSAM offending, targeted at those who may be worried about their sexual thoughts or behaviour towards children and/or have started to attempt to access CSAM online. Examples of such initiatives available overseas include Stop It Now! in the UK, the Netherlands and the US, and Prevention Project Dunkelfeld in Germany.

In this paper, we first describe the range and type of prevention initiatives for CSAM offending across a wide range of organisations in Canada, Europe, New Zealand, the UK and the US. Secondly, we describe the evidence on the implementation and effectiveness available on these initiatives for preventing CSAM offending, as well as other measures of success. Information was drawn from website searches, a literature review and an international project advisory group. Findings can help inform the development and implementation of future prevention strategies.


Alexandra Gannoni is a Senior Research Analyst at the Australian Institute of Criminology. Alexandra has published on a range of issues including illicit drugs, homicide, deaths in custody, identity crime, surveillance technologies and domestic violence. She is currently working in the area of child sexual abuse material offender prevention.

Alexandra Voce joined the AIC in January 2019 and has primarily worked on the Streaming and Child Sexual Abuse Materials Research Program and Drug Use Monitoring Australia (DUMA) program. Alexandra has a Bachelor’s degree of Science in Psychology (Honours), and a research PhD on the impact of methamphetamine use on mental health. Alexandra’s research interests include substance use harms, illicit drugs markets, violent crime, mental health, and prevention of child sexual abuse and exploitation.