Woman ‘trusted’ online predator who viewed child sexual abuse on her daughter’s computer
Experts warn that 1% of the entire male population could be ‘interested in sex with prepubescent children’.
A woman discovered her partner was watching online child sexual abuse material on her daughter’s computer, as experts warn 1% of the entire male population could be “interested in sex with prepubescent children”.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is urging people who view child sexual abuse material on the internet to seek help to change their behavior, warning about the dire consequences it has, not only on victims, but also on the offenders’ own families.
The IWF is the UK charity responsible for finding and removing images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse and torture from the internet.
Speaking to the IWF for their podcast series Pixels from a Crime Scene, Kerry Ann said some offenders are “addicted” to watching child sexual abuse material.
This comes as experts warn 1% of the entire male population, about 35 million people, is “aroused by pedophilic stimuli” and “interested in sex with prepubescent children”.
Kerry Ann found out that her partner, and the father of their eight-month-old son, had been convicted for viewing child sexual abuse material when he was 18.
He hadn’t been jailed, but nor had he told her, which was in breach of the conditions of the sex offenders’ register.
As a result, he was ordered to move out of their home for six months, but following a risk assessment, Kerry Ann let him move back in with them.
She said: “A couple of years before this happened, we had a sex offender move into my street and I was the first one trying to get a petition up to get him moved.
“I didn't know about my partner because what I now know is that is a very guilty pleasure for them, that they want to keep very secret.
“There would've been no pleasure in it for him if I had known about it. So for him, keeping it secret was paramount.”
But her partner did not change his behavior.
“These are real children. If you are viewing this, you are complicit in their rape, torture, and abuse."
Kerry Ann added: “We'd been shopping one Saturday afternoon. We came home with the shopping and the police pulled up, just a normal Saturday afternoon, and said, can we come in? There's been an allegation made against your partner.
“Apparently, he'd sent an image to a phone, a cartoon image, a cartoon sexual image, which led to them seizing the home computer, which had over 2000 pornographic images of children.”
Kerry Ann said she had been “totally unaware” that her partner had been accessing the material. She said if she had known, she would have been “the first one” to have reported him.
She said: “It was my daughter's computer that he, he'd actually bought her for her homework. I wasn't computer savvy at all back then. I'm not very much now, I can just about work the kettle, but back then I certainly couldn't have checked anything. I trusted him.”
Susie Hargreaves, Chief Executive of the IWF, said people should be encouraged to change their behavior if they are “addicted” to viewing harmful content online.
She said: “These are real children. If you are viewing this, you are complicit in their rape, torture, and abuse, I can’t put it any more plainly than that. You are not just watching, you are fueling this, and you are to blame, in part, for their suffering.”
Ms Hargreaves said preventing images being made in the first place is the best way to protect children. She said stifling the demand for videos and images of child sexual abuse is the best way to make sure fewer of them are made, and fewer children are put at risk. She said offenders have to take this upon themselves and must seek to change their behavior.
Ernie Allen, founder of the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in America and the Chair of the WeProtect Global Alliance to End Online Child Sexual Exploitation, said there have always been people who are sexually attracted to children but their desires remained hidden.
Speaking on the podcast, Mr Allen said: “the public doesn't understand how pervasive this problem is.”
Mr Allen said millions of men may be harbouring an interest in viewing child sexual abuse material. He said Canadian researcher Dr. Michael Seto suggests the scale of the problem could be enormous.
Mr Allen said: “His estimate is that conservatively 1% of the male population is aroused by pedophilic stimuli, is interested in sex with prepubescent children.
“They discovered they're part of a virtual community and they can communicate with individuals with the same interest around the world with virtually no risk of being identified or detected. They can trade images, they can trade techniques, they can trade fantasies.”
“Now they're three and a half billion males on the planet today - 1% is 35 million people. We're not going to be able to arrest and prosecute 35 million people.
“And I acknowledge that everyone was such interest isn't going to act against a real child, but even excluding the very young and the very old, we're talking about a huge population in the world today who are sexually attracted to children.”
Mr Allen said the internet has made things worse because predators can now communicate with other predators all over the world.
He said: “They discovered they're part of a virtual community and they can communicate with individuals with the same interest around the world with virtually no risk of being identified or detected. They can trade images, they can trade techniques, they can trade fantasies.”
Anyone wanting to address their own behavior or thoughts should contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation which runs the confidential Stop It Now! helpline. https://www.lucyfaithfull.org.uk/
Pixels from a Crime Scene is available to download at www.iwf.org.uk/pixels-from-a-crime-scene or on Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.
The series will explore how children are targeted by pernicious criminals online, and how their abuse is spread all over the world. It will introduce listeners to the victims, the experts, and even the criminals involved, and will set out how we can go about fighting to make the internet safer for everyone.
Anyone who stumbles across child sexual abuse material online can report it to the IWF at https://report.iwf.org.uk/en. The IWF’s team of analysts will assess the material and remove child sexual abuse material from the internet.