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2017 Children’s Justice Conference Features Social Media, Technology Sessions by SEARCH


Social media, social networking, and technology are the focus of SEARCH presentations and workshops this week at the 2017 Children’s Justice Conference. They are led by Justin Fitzsimmons, Program Manager of SEARCH High-Tech Crime Training Services.

The annual event, held April 11–12 in Bellevue, WA, is sponsored by the Children’s Justice Task Force of the Washington Department of Social & Health Services. It features more than 100 breakout sessions that offer intermediate and advanced specialized training from leaders in the field of child maltreatment, and provided to multiple disciplines in the child welfare and justice systems.

Justin Fitzsimmons

SEARCH is a contributor to this, the 25th annual Children’s Justice Conference. Mr. Fitzsimmons, a former prosecutor, is presenting on the following topics:

  • Ethics and Technology: The Role of Social Media and Avoiding Ethical Dilemmas. This session describes the unique responsibilities of those in the medical, legal, law enforcement, victim services and advocacy fields in avoiding ethical pitfalls of social media use by professionals.
  • Social Networking Investigations. This workshop demonstrates the usefulness of social networking sites to investigations, and teaches how to effectively search networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It also covers techniques on capturing profiles for evidentiary purposes.
  • Introduction to Technology-Facilitated Child Sexual Exploitation (TFCSE) and the Role of Technology in Human Trafficking. This session addresses the complex situations and cases that investigators and prosecutors will encounter in TFCSE cases, and the role technology plays in the exploitation, particularly in human trafficking of minors. It also addresses the types of evidence that may exist in cyberspace and the evidence-based practices for securing it.

Learn more about SEARCH’s high-tech crime investigation training, including instructor-led or self-paced courses, as well as material offered at conferences or meetings.

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Justin Fitzsimmons

JustinFitzsimmonsMr. Justin Fitzsimmons is a Program Manager in the High-Tech Crime Training Services (HTCTS) department of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. He helps coordinate training with law enforcement agencies, prepares budgets, oversees the HTCTS project staff, and develops high-tech crime training projects for justice, public safety, and homeland security agencies nationwide. He also conducts legal, policy, and regulatory research, prepares white papers, and provides assistance and instructional services to justice, public safety, and homeland security agencies, particularly in digital evidence recovery, investigation, and prosecution.

Mr. Fitzsimmons is conducting a national research effort to determine the current capabilities of law enforcement to investigate crimes with digital evidence and make recommendations to decision-makers about resources to assist law enforcement. He also presents at conferences and trainings, participates on advisory committees and task forces, and supports agencies and jurisdictions as they create and implement effective procedures, practices, and technology applications that seek to combat high-tech crime and recover digital evidence.

Before joining SEARCH in 2012, Mr. Fitzsimmons worked for the National District Attorneys Association, where he was Senior Attorney for its National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse beginning in 2009. He responded to requests for assistance in child sexual exploitation cases from prosecutors and law enforcement around the United States, designed and presented training seminars, and published articles on emerging technological issues in child sexual exploitation. From 1998–2009, he was an assistant state’s attorney (ASA) in the State’s Attorney’s Offices for Kane and DuPage Counties, Illinois, where he prosecuted cases involving sexual exploitation and digital evidence. As an ASA for Kane County, he supervised the Special Prosecution Unit, responsible for investigating and prosecuting felony cases, including Internet crimes against children. He was also assigned to a Child Advocacy Center team that investigated and prosecuted cases of severe physical and sexual abuse against children, crimes of Internet solicitation of children, and child pornography. As an ASA for DuPage County, he worked in the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau and the Felony Domestic Violence Unit.

Mr. Fitzsimmons frequently presents and teaches at international, national, and regional conferences, workshops, webinars, and training courses on digital evidence collection, computer forensics, crimes against children, cybercrime, and human trafficking. He has published articles on digital evidence authentication, computer forensics for prosecutors, child sexual exploitation, and more. In addition, he has drafted legislation that was signed into law in Illinois on several technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation issues from 2006–08.

Mr. Fitzsimmons was a member of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) National Strategy Working Group on Child Exploitation and co-chaired its Training Subcommittee. He also participated in the DOJ Office for Victims of Crime Working Group on Restitution for Victims of Child Pornography, the FBI Innocence Lost Working Group, and the Internet Child Exploitation Task Force. He has served as faculty of the National Children’s Advocacy Center, Huntsville, Alabama, and for the North-East Metropolitan Regional Training Center, Police Training, Aurora, Illinois.

Mr. Fitzsimmons is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University in Ohio.