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SEARCH Trainers to Address Child Advocates on Technology’s Role in Child Abuse Investigations


When it comes to child abuse response, child advocacy centers (CACs) bring together law enforcement, criminal justice, child protective service, and medical and mental health workers onto one coordinated team. There are over 800 CACs operating in the United States and they are found in more than 10 countries worldwide.

CACs typically employ a highly effective, one-stop approach to investigating child abuse. Through a multidisciplinary, team approach, these centers provide a child-friendly facility at which members of the investigative team interview, medically examine, provide and refer treatment for abused children while pursuing the prosecution of offenders.
—Tim Lott, SEARCH High-Tech Crime Training Services Director

caci-logoSEARCH Staff with expertise in digital evidence investigations and child abuse prosecution will address CAC practitioners at the 5th Annual Champions of Children Conference on March 10–11, 2014, in Bloomingdale, Illinois. Sponsored by the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois, the event is geared to multidisciplinary professionals whose work encompasses all facets of child abuse investigation.


Justin Fitzsimmons

Justin Fitzsimmons, Program Manager of our High-Tech Crime Training Services team and a former prosecutor, will discuss the various elements of crimes that might be used to support the prosecution of technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation (TFCSE) cases. He’ll show how there is often evidence left behind at a crime scene that points to knowledge and intent in TFCSE cases.

A growing trend in child sexual abuse comes in the form of sexting, sexploitation, and sextortion. In these cases, offenders gain control over their victim by using images or information about the victim that the offender got either through underhanded means or the victim gave up while engaging in risky behavior online. Justin will show investigators how technology is used to facilitate these cases. 


Lauren Wagner

Justin will also discuss the current trends, studies and case law on cyberbullying, and show the different characteristics of traditional bullying versus bullying that is facilitated by technology. He will also lead a discussion about how professionals in the medical, legal, law enforcement, victim services and advocacy fields need to be cautious of what they post on social networking sites to be sure that the information does not cross ethical boundaries.

SEARCH High-Tech Crime Training Specialists Lauren Wagner and Elizabeth Tow will teach investigators how to use Google to their advantage by using advanced search operators and then filtering search results to relevant and useful information. 


Elizabeth Tow

They’ll also give an overview of social networking websites, and show investigators how to set up an investigative social networking account to search for information and how to use Facebook to find all possible publicly available data pertinent to their case. 

Lauren and Elizabeth will also show investigators how to find data that is often missed in investigations: hidden geolocation information in pictures from cell phones and social media; data and GPS coordinates in cell phones; and IP login information.

conference-blockSEARCH’s High-Tech Crime Training Services team provides a range of courses, offered in instructor-led, self-paced, or conference formats.

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