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A Routine Activities Approach to Technology-Enhanced Sexual Crimes Against Children Open Access

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The Internet has expanded the tools available to predators to sexually exploit and abuse minors. Using Routine Activities Theory, this study uses data from the NJOV-3 to examine how measures of victim suitability, offender motivation, and guardianship may influence whether offenders will physically victimize a minor after meeting them online. The dependent variable in this study is a dichotomous variable measuring whether any physical sexual activity occurred between the minor and offender. Regression analyses conducted in the study indicate minors who had low levels of conflict with his or her parent(s) were less likely to be physically victimized. Additionally, offenders were more likely to avoid physical relations with minors if he or she was married, instead limiting sexual contact to online communications. The likelihood of victimization was further lessened if the older a minor was and if the minor was nonwhite. The apparent role of whiteness in physical victimization raises important questions regarding the role of race in victimization that should be the focus of further study.

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