Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 167 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 Indecent images and internet-enabled sexual offending by adults 4.207 Internet-enabled sexual offending includes possession, exchange and distribution of indecent images of and/or with children (IIOC); production of IIOC; sexual solicitation (online interaction with minors for sexual purposes); non-consensual sharing of sexual images; and conspiracy crimes such as working with others to distribute IIOC or to solicit children. All such behaviour causes significant harm to children. Investigation by Police Scotland will be necessary. An inter-agency referral discussion (IRD) will be necessary in relation to identified children who may be at risk of significant harm. Relevant legislation is signposted above in the section on child sexual abuse. 4.208 Most people who offend are male. Many are in relationships and have children. Motivations vary: some have a long-standing sexual interest in children, while some behaviours are exploratory or relate to the seeking out of extreme sexual material. 4.209 Beyond the direct and indirect abuse of children caused by the behaviour listed above, practitioners concerned with child protection will be concerned to know: • is this person likely to commit a contact sexual offence with a child? • has the person already committed contact sexual offences with a child? 4.210 The Risk Management Authority in Scotland’s recent review of current evidence suggests that those convicted for viewing IIOC only are in general less likely to commit further sexual offences than other types of sexual offenders. When they do re-offend, it tends to be repeat viewing of IIOC. Increased risk of sexual offending is associated factors that include: • previous sexual convictions • other convictions • problem alcohol or drug use • domestic abuse • other sexually inappropriate behaviour • children being present when IIOC is viewed 4.211 Even when an individual is deemed ‘low risk’, this does not equate to no risk. For this reason, where the individual who has committed an offence has access to children, a holistic, in-depth assessment completed and reviewed by skilled and experienced practitioners should be the norm. Multi-agency assessment and close co‑operation between child and family services and Criminal Justice Social Work and Sex Offender Policing Units is needed to evaluate the level of risk to children, and to recommend proportionate protective measures. This is a complex analysis. There may be no other police intelligence or indicators of significant harm. Dynamic variables include the degree of acceptance and attitude of the person who has committed the offence, along with acceptance of the potential risk by the non-abusing parent and immediate family, as well as the partner relationship, parenting styles, and the age, needs and circumstances of the children.