A Crime Script Analysis of Child Sexual Exploitation Material Fora on the Darkweb

Madeleine van der Bruggen*, Arjan Blokland

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study’s aim is to contribute to the knowledge on the steps involved in child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) crimes committed in Darkweb CSEM communities. Due to the anonymous and illegal nature of these communities, academic research is scarce. This study provides a crime script analysis of member communication data from four CSEM Darkweb fora obtained by law enforcement. For cross-validation, suspect interviews from a relevant case file were analyzed. A step-by-step description of the crime process, starting with the preparations necessary to access Darkweb CSEM fora and ending with the postactivity behaviors of exiting the crime scene and preventing detection, is given, focusing on the casts, activities, probs, and personal and contextual requirements at each stage. The findings highlight the scope of the CSEM problem, as well as the influence the Darkweb has on the way the crime is committed. Suitable targets for law enforcement intervention are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • child sexual exploitation material
  • crime script
  • Darkweb


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