Dr. Gina Dimitropoulos, University of Calgary
With technological advances and the explosion of the Internet, the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse images have increased exponentially. Child sexual abuse images online (CSAIO) are nearly impossible to destroy, and the increasing use of technology by perpetrators has aided in the continuous, lifelong abuse of victims. Frontline service providers are often the first to discover or receive disclosures of CSAIO by children and youth but are not supplied with adequate information and training for this task.
This study looks to explore the current level of knowledge, confidence, and capacity of frontline service providers in recognizing and responding to CSAIO. Using a mixed-methods design and an integrated knowledge translation protocol, we will distribute an online questionnaire across Southern Alberta, targeting five practice fields:
1. law enforcement
2. child welfare
3. specialized mental health services
4. specialized child abuse services
5. school support staff.
Following the survey, we will host focus groups to discuss the findings and develop recommendations and outcomes based on the survey and focus group results. This process is facilitated by an interdisciplinary research team that brings together new and experienced researchers (University of Calgary), community partners (Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre), and decision-makers, along with an Advisory Committee of experts in the five practice fields to ensure the outcomes can be implemented and integrated in practice.
In 2016/2017, PolicyWise developed an Evaluation Action Plan for the Framework to End Family Violence in Alberta. PolicyWise is now assisting Community And Social Services in implementing the action plan. Using the plan’s recommendations, several evaluation projects have been identified and prioritized for implementation.