FCRG members – Dr. Ross Bartels and Dr. Hannah Merdian – have recently published an article detailing an initial conceptualisation of the implicit theories held by fantasy-driven child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) users. Using a grounded theory approach to analyse the existing literature on CSEM users, Bartels and Merdian propose five CSEM-related implicit theories, each of which is contextualised by a general assumption about the reinforcing nature of the Internet. The five implicit theories include:

Unhappy World (a view that the world is uninterested and/or rejecting – linked to self-regulatory online behaviour)

Self as Uncontrollable (perception of oneself as “addicted” to the online behaviour)

Children as Sex Objects (dehumanising view of children as sexual objects)

Self as Collector (detached perception of CSEM as collectibles)

Nature of Harm (CSEM variant) (denial of role in the abuse cycle and minimisation of harm in CSEM)

This paper marks the first published article on this topic and is hoped to be a valuable contribution to the literature.

The article can accessed for free (up until 02/02/16) via this link