Lasting trauma for child victims
By Lex Talamo
The internet adds to the already formidable trauma for children who are victims of sex crimes, experts say.
“Because of the internet, when the hands-on offending is over, it’s not over for the child,” said Dr. Sharon Cooper, a forensic pediatrician in Fayetteville, North Carolina. “The children know that images have been made of their abuse, and they are constantly afraid that people will see those images. Children don’t get over this easily at all.”
Cooper, who has testified as an expert in more than 300 child pornography cases nationwide, said the internet adds trauma to children whose sexual abuse images are shared on peer-to-peer networks in the Dark Web or sold to child exploitation websites.
Child victims are devastated when they learn – while testifying in court during victim impact statements, for example – that “more than 12,000 people” have collected images of their sexual abuse and also have potentially used them to “groom” other children, Cooper said.