Developing tools to detect and combat child sexual abuse


There is considerable evidence to suggest that global demand for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is growing. Consistent with this demand, is a surge in the volume of CSAM available online, including static imagery and, increasingly, pre-recorded and live-stream video.

Policing this pernicious problem is a global priority. But it’s no easy task, both because of the material’s sheer abundance and the damage that repeated exposure to it can cause to officers’ mental health.

Developing automated methods to detect and analyse CSAM, however, may shift the balance. Advanced facial and voice recognition software tools now in development have the potential to dramatically increase law enforcement agencies’ ability to detect CSAM online as it appears—and accelerate investigations.

Dr Russell Brewer, Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Adelaide and Dr Bryce Westlake, Associate Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at San Jose State University discussed this topic at a webinar on 23 February 2022. Moderated by Professor Adam Graycar, Director of the Stretton Institute. From 1994 to 2003 Adam was Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology.

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