Research and resources

Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) promotes and encourages research into online child sexual exploitation to better understand how to tackle the issue and prevent online harm. Below you can find research that the Digital Child Exploitation Team (DCET) have supported or contributed to.

If you are interested in working with DIA on any future research in this area, please contact the team via

Please note that many of the below research papers may refer to ‘child pornography’. DIA no longer uses the term child pornography as it downplays child sexual abuse; the terms child sexual abuse material (CSAM) or child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) are now used instead. For more clarification, see: What is child sexual abuse material? 

On this page

Online Safety Experience Review (2022)

There is an extensive range of data and research available about personal online safety practices by New Zealand parents and caregivers. This report seeks to draw on this existing literature and gain a greater understanding about parents and caregivers knowledge of their children’s online experience. The review will summarise the:

  • relevant research and data about New Zealand parents and caregivers understanding of sources of online safety information available;
  • resources that have engaged parents and caregivers and what action they have taken as a result;
  • barriers parents and caregivers are encountering when engaging with online safety tools and information; and
  • areas New Zealand parents and caregivers want more information and support on.
  • Online Safety Experience Review - June 2022 (PDF, 934KB)

Haumaru Tuihono: N4L Block Page Trial (2021)

Haumaru Tuihono is a multi-agency working group made up of representatives from across Government and Non-Government agencies to tackle child sexual exploitation online. As part of Haumaru Tuihono, the Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Education, Network for Learning and the Classification Office developed a trial to test block page designs effectiveness at providing young people in secondary schools with information, tools and resources about accessing pornography online, having healthy relationships and where to get help and support for online harms.

As part of the trial three new block page designs were to ‘nudge’ young people who attempted to search for adult pornography over the school network to alternative education, advice and support services. The new block page designs helped young people to access online safety education and information by directing them to either The Eggplant mini-series or the Keep It Real Online website.

Developing a typology of child sexual exploitation offenders (2019)

For this research, Elsemiek Griemink worked closely with the Digital Child Exploitation Team to investigate and classify individuals accessing child sexual abuse material. Four distinct subgroups were identified based on their level of engagement with the material, technical capability, type of child sexual abuse material offending, and the type of material they searched for.

The findings of this research have particular implications for the Digital Child Exploitation Team and similar organisations who are involved in the investigation of child sexual abuse material offending. This typology may be used as a guide for allocating resources and developing an understanding of the characteristics that are likely to be demonstrated by individuals identified by the Digital Child Exploitation Team.

Predicting recidivism among adult male child pornography offenders: Development of the Child Pornography Offender Risk Tool (2015)

The researchers developed a risk tool to predict sexual recidivism among child sexual exploitation material offenders. The checklist has demonstrated moderate predictive accuracy and includes offenders age, any prior criminal history, any contact sexual offending, any failure on conditional release, an indication of sexual interest in child pornography material or prepubescent or pubescent children.

Undetected and detected child sexual abuse and child pornography offenders (2012)

These researchers compared self-referred undetected (by law enforcement) offenders against detected (by law enforcement) offenders on risk factors for sexual offending against children and social functioning. The offenders were evaluated on a series of characteristics including sexual pre-occupation, loneliness, offence-supportive attitudes etc.

Offenders who use Child Sexual Exploitation Material: Development of an Integrated Model for their Classification, Assessment, and Treatment (2012)

This paper explored the differences between child sexual abuse material offenders and contact sex offenders providing a theoretical model of child sexual abuse offending which classifies child sexual abuse material offenders on three dimensions: offending with or without direct sexual contact to a minor, the individual’s motivation to offend and the level of networking with other offenders.

Internet Traders of Child Pornography and other Censorship Offenders in New Zealand (2004)

First published in 2004, this research report by Angela Carr profiles censorship offenders and examines characteristics of their offending:

Protecting Our Innocence: New Zealand's National Plan of Action Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (2002)

A report published by the Ministry of Justice in February 2002, provides a comprehensive examination of the four main activities that exploit children for their commercial value: child prostitution, child exploitation material, child sex tourism and child trafficking for sexual purposes.

It also details some of the laws, social policies, administrative measures and programmes that have been developed to respond to child abuse and exploitation in general.

Censored: A Short History of Censorship in New Zealand (1989)

This publication was produced by the Department of Internal Affairs' Research Unit and published in 1989. It documents censorship issues, policy and practice in New Zealand from the colonial period until the 1980s.