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Crimes Against Children

Children, who require the care of adults, are among the most vulnerable and innocent victims of crimes. Crimes against children include physical and emotional abuse; neglect; and exploitation, such as through child pornography or sex trafficking of minors. Crimes against children are typically local crimes with the vast majority taking place at home or among their family circle. However, there are areas where an international angle is present.¹ A child who has been abused can experience a range of problems including relationship difficulties, lack of trust of adults, emotional outburts or retreat, low performance at school, depression, anxiety, and anger. 

Five types of crimes against children

  • Child abuse: broadly defined as any type of cruelty inflicted upon a child, including mental abuse, physical harm, neglect, and sexual abuse or exploitation. Specific crimes charges in instances of child abuse can include assault and battery.
  • Statutory rape: refers to sexual relations involving someone below the "age of consent". People below this age cannot legally consent to having sex. Sex with them, by definition, violates the law. Statutory rape differs from other types of rape, and from child molestation, in that there is no requirement of force. Statutory rape can involve those who are underage but willingly engage in the sexual activity.
  • Internet crimes (child pornography): increased use of the internet in recent years has lead to a dramatic rise in offending. Offenders can distribute and access child abuse material more easily and can also come into direct contact with children through chatrooms and social networking sites.
  • Child abandonment: occurs when a parent, guardian, or person in charge of a child either deserts a child without any regard for their physical health, safety or welfare and with the intention of wholly abandoning the child, or in some instances, fails to provide necessary care for a child living under their roof.
  • Travelling sex offenders: also known as "sex tourism", travelling sex offenders involve are individuals who abuse children in developing countries by people who travel there. The abuse of children is made easier in developing countries, as there is a lack of effective legislation and an abundance of wealthy offenders able to provide monetary compensation for the abuse.

Programs against child offenders

Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) is a task-force stated by the United States Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 1998.² The primary goals of the organization are to provide safe and local law enforcement agencies with the tools to prevent Internet crimes against children byencouraging multi-jurisdictional cooperation as well as educating both law enforcement agents, parents, and teachers.² The main aim of the ICAC is to catch distributors of child pornography on the Internet, whether delivered on-line or solicited on-line The program was initially developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, as well as heightened online activity by predators seeking unsupervised contact with potential underaged victims.²

The National Child Victim Identification Program (NCVIP) is the world's largest database of child pornography, maintained by the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the United States Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The program's purpose is to identify victims of child abuse. The program was created by Andrew Oosterban, who is now head of the CEOS.³


Photo source: Wikimedia and Wikimedia



1. Interpol. Crimes against children. Retrieved on May 1, 2014, from http://www.interpol.int/Crime-areas/Crimes-against-children/Crimes-against-children

2. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Internet Crimes Against Children Tak Force Program Summary. Retrieved May 1, 2014, from http://www.ojjdp.gov/programs/progsummary.asp?pi=3

3. National Child Victim Identification Program. Biography. Retrieved on May 1, 2014, from http://wn.com/national_child_victim_identification_program/biography

4. FindLaw. Crimes Against Children. Retrieved on May 1, 2014, from http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/crimes-against-children.html

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