Marsh Law Firm Blog

Marsh Law Firm – Supporting Child Pornography Victims

Our firm co-sponsored this first-ever gathering of child pornography survivors who created this mandala of hope and resilience. Calling themselves the ‘Phoenix Ten,’ survivors shared their lifelong experiences and organized as a powerful force demanding change.

Survivors banded together to share experiences and create a force to challenge the inadequate responses to the prevalence of child sex abuse images on the Internet. One outcome of the retreat was the establishment of an action group focusing on bringing the collective voice of these victims to the international stage.

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Towards a Global Indicator on Unidentified Victims in Child Sexual Exploitation Material

Ground-breaking research released by INTERPOL and ECPAT International into the online sexual exploitation of children suggests that when online images or videos of child sexual abuse depict boys or very young children, the abuse is more likely to be severe. Other messages from the study:

  • Law enforcement officials face multiple challenges in identifying victims and offenders, even with powerful tools such as the ICSE Database;
  • A significant proportion (61 percent) of analysed series contained images and videos that were both abusive and exploitative in character, and in the vast majority of the analysed series from child modelling sites, both abusive and exploitative material was visible;
  • Accurate determination of core characteristics of victims such as age is a challenge, particularly across ethnic groups;
  • Even though most offenders were male, there are some females involved in the abuse and exploitation of children – and more needs to be understood about this phenomenon; and
  • The phenomenon of ‘youth-produced sexual imagery’ appears to present a challenge to international law enforcement, both in terms of the detection and integration of this imagery with international image databases, and the identification and classification of its victims.

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Battling the Cover-Up Culture of Child Sexual Abuse in Schools

Too many schools are failing in their responsibility to keep children safe from sexual abuse. The doctrine of in loco parentis demands that schools assume the responsibility of the parent to keep a child safe at school. Often, instead of protecting children, schools have been covering up sexual abuse of children by teachers, failing to investigate and report alleged abuse, and allowing teachers to silently leave. Not surprisingly, this allows them to find employment as teachers elsewhere, free to resume their predatory behavior.

This “passing the trash” policy has been well-publicized regarding sports, religious, and fraternal institutions. Schools are where children leave the protection of their parents to learn in a presumptive safe environment. How, and why, are some failing to adequately protect our children?

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The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in Court

During the 28 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child entered into force, it has become the world’s most ratified human rights treaty—with the notable exception of the United States—and a powerful tool for advancing children’s rights. The Convention is the canonical statement of children’s rights, but it is also an enforceable legal instrument being applied around the world to protect children’s rights.

The excellent Child Rights International Network ["CRIN"] launched the CRC in Court case law database in 2009 to highlight important court decisions that quote and discuss the Convention.

This report draws out the ways the CRC has been used around the world to challenge abuses of children’s rights, but also where it has been misunderstood and misapplied by national courts. It addresses the use of the Convention in general, and features more detailed analysis of three of the most cited rights under the Convention and the divergent ways they have been applied and interpreted.

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State and Federal Sexting Laws

This regularly updated fact sheet provides a brief overview and link to each of the state sexting laws.Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. (2015). State Sexting Laws. Cyberbullying Research Center.

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Sextortion: Stalking Victims in the New Cyber Playground

In a new report, Benjamin Wittes, Cody Poplin, Quinta Jurecic and Clara Spera of the Brookings Institution discuss new research on "sextortion"—online, remote sexual assaults, sometimes over great distances, crossing international borders, or involving a great many victims.Sextortion: Cybersecurity, teenagers, and remote sexual assaultWe tend think of cybersecurity as a problem for governments, major corporations, and—at an individual level—for people with credit card numbers or identities to steal. The average teenage or young-adult Internet user, however, ...

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When Billy Is Called to Testify

By Kathryn Alfisi of the Children's Law CenterAccording to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "testimony" means "To talk and answer questions about something, especially in a court of law while formally promising that what you're saying is true."While it sounds like a relatively easy thing to do, if you add an intimidating setting, unfamiliar legal procedures and jargon, and the possibility of having someone who caused you harm sitting close by you, testifying could become a stressful and anxiety-ridden experience for the average adult.So what happens ...

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The Use of Coercion in the Child Maltreatment Investigation Field: A Comparison of American and Scottish Perspectives

The intent of this article is to investigate legal precedents and principles, which yield plausible uses of coercion in the child maltreatment investigative context. In doing so, the goal is to contribute to the underlying legal philosophy and its practical application in the child maltreatment field. In particular, this article addresses the use of coercion in the child protective investigative setting from both an American and Scottish perspective.Governmental coercion is actual and not merely metaphorical, although there are limits to its use. Our discussion is on ...

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U.S. Sentencing Commission Releases Video to Aid Federal Crime Victims

The United States Sentencing Commission today released a video entitled “Victims’ Rights and Federal Sentencing,” which aims to help crime victims exercise their right to participate in the sentencing process.Federal crime victims have a right to participate in sentencing and throughout the criminal justice process pursuant to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 30, 2004. The Commission is commemorating the tenth anniversary of the CVRA this week by releasing this new video to help victims make maximum use ...

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Federal Criminal Restitution for Child Pornography Victims

On April 23, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision concerning federal criminal restitution for child pornography victims. The case, Paroline v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 1710 (2014), attracted 14 amicus briefs supporting a victim named Amy, whose road to the Supreme Court started in 2008.Victims of child pornography are harmed twice: first, by the sex abuse and sexual assault committed against them and, second, by the subsequent distribution and collection of the images and videos depicting their sexual abuse. The worldwide, ubiquitous ...

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