Surviving Child Abuse
Victims of Imagery
Outreach Services Director, Paula Schoenberg
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has addressed the technical components of how to track distribution and identify child pornography which they now call "child imagery."
In 2017, ten million tips were reported to NCMEC cyber tip line and in 2018, eighteen million tips. Out of of those tips 17,720 children were identified. Once those children are identified the child and their family will need support to get through the trauma. Victim's of Child Imagery is very unique because these images have an impact on these victims for life. The images are in the cyber world forever.
The average victim is abused for 6-10 years; therefore, usually a close person was taking pictures and abusing that child. The victims are faced with wondering if people know who they are and if people are still viewing the images or looking for them. The child and their families go through trauma, guilt, and shame. Their belief system gets shattered and there is recurring victimization when the child must testify.
When an arrest is made you would think that a child would be safe, but most cases the media gets involved and they may compromise the child's privacy by identifying the perpetrator, who is usually someone the child is related to or knows.
There are laws being created to make sure media can not expose locations and names of child victims. There is hope for survivors when thorough assessments are made to find out what the needs are for each individual and a plan is created to aid the survivor and family members on this difficult journey. Advocates must support the families' challenges and needs by providing help and resources in the prosecutorial and healing processes.
Wisconsin Serving Victims of Crime Conference, August 2019