Dissertations@Portsmouth - Details for item no. 13388

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Heffernan, Hannah Jeanette (2017) A critical exploration into the key features of internet sex offending. (unpublished MSc dissertation), University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth


Internet sex offending (ISO) has gained considerable attention in recent years. With the use of information communication technologies (ICT) rapidly increasing in modern society, it is no surprise the internet has become a safe and secure environment for sex offenders. The avenues of communication the internet offers in various ways, has enabled sex offenders to commit traditional sexual offences through new means and with different agendas. To gain an understanding of their opinions and backgrounds in the field of ISO, this research collected primary qualitative data in the form of five semi-structured interviews with three academics and two practitioners. A thematic analysis was then conducted and the findings were thematically coded and organised into main themes and sub-themes.

This research sought to critically explore the key features of internet sex offending, with an emphasis being placed upon how the internet facilitates this. A significant finding of the research was the contrasting opinions between the academic point of view and a practitioner point of view of ISO. As it was discovered throughout the undertaking of this research that practitioners stated non-contact and contact offences share the same level of severity. Whereas, Academics considered non-contact offences to be less severe. Furthermore, this research revealed that the internet is merely a tool used by sex offenders to commit sexual offences. Thus, it became clear that while sexual offences such as online grooming and the production and procession of child pornography are not new crimes, the internet offers a new platform in which to commit them. The difference of opinion between practitioners and academics is a significant and interesting finding that needs a more thorough examination or investigation. Moreover, further research is needed to identify the key aspects of ISO from a bigger and varied sample.

Department/Group: Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Course: Crime Science Investigation and Intelligence - MSc

Date Deposited: 2019-03-06

URI/permalink: https://library.port.ac.uk/dissert/dis13388.html