Penticton News

Child sex crimes takes toll on officers as well as victims

RCMP uses sophisticated techniques in its battle to catch those downloading child porn and arresting repeat sexual offenders.
Image Credit: RCMP Behavioural Sciences

TWO RCMP PROGRAMS TARGET CHILD PORN, REPEAT SEX OFFENDERS

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Child victims of sexual crimes and their families aren't the only ones scarred; the pain often extends to those who reach out to help, such as the police officers who investigate the crimes.

Surrey RCMP Staff Sgt. Bev Csikos says the work is not for everyone and they never do it for a long time.

"It's disturbing work we do," she says. "It plays on your personal life."

Officers can become over-sensitized, Csikos says. Some members will spend a few years with the Integrated Child Exploitation Team and move on to another department. Some of those who stay longer may become hyper vigilant, prone to suspicious thoughts where they aren't warranted. Exploitation team officers are required to see a psychiatrist every six months and engage in group counselling.

Recently in Penticton, two separate cases of men caught in possession of child pornography show just a fraction of what officers are exposed to. Before 2003, such crimes were categorized along with prostitution, sexual assault and/or serious crimes programs, Csikos says. Police needed specialist programs designed to catch child sex offenders as well as track sexual predators released from custody.

An RCMP study of the prevalence across the country led to the creation of two teams to tackle these crimes that were crossing borders and crawling along the dark edges of the internet.

The exploitation team identifies and assists child victims, finding those responsible and laying criminal charges for the assaults, creation of images and their distribution. The officers there "work in close partnership with law enforcement agencies around the world to identify those who prey upon our children," Sgt. Csikos says.

Find the bad guys is one end. But once the offenders are found, they always get special attention from the Integrated Sexual Predator Observation Team which tracks and studies released sexual predators who are at high risk to reoffend. Program members are trained in behavioural progression and have a strong understanding of when offenders are likely to commit crimes. The program has put many high-risk people back into prison. Both teams also work together.

The RCMP offers counselling services for victims, while investigators visit their homes to update families about the progress of the investigation. The job doesn't end with an arrest.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at squesnel@infotelnews.ca, call 250-488-3065, tweet @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict


iN RESPONSE: Readers have their say
Following are emailed reader responses to stories or letters to the editor for the first week of May 2024. They have been edited slightly for readability.  Got something you want to add? Send an email to editor Marshall Jones at mjone
The still photo is from a documentary called Bring Back The Whistle Dog.
iN VIDEO: Iconic A&W whistle dog returns after fans made enough noise
The Whistle Dog is returning to the A&W menu across Canada and die-hard fans of the iconic fast-food item played a role. The Whistle Dog is a hot dog in a toasted bun topped with relish, cheddar cheese and bacon. When it was disco
A customer smells cannabis buds at a Cannabis shop in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Prime Minister of Thailand Srettha Thavisin said Wednesday, May 8, 2024 that he wants cannabis to be officially classified as a narcotic drug, a rollback from the complete decriminalization of the plant two years ago.
Pro-cannabis advocates in Thailand rally ahead of the government's plan to recriminalize the plant
NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) — Dozens of pro-cannabis advocates gathered Thursday at the health ministry on the outskirts of the Thai capital, Bangkok, to oppose the government’s plan to relist the plant as a narcotic, two years after it
Why you should expect a bigger property tax bill in booming Kamloops, Okanagan next year
When the City of Kelowna tried to encourage developers and homeowners to produce more houses on existing lots in its urban neighbourhoods two years ago, it had an immediate effect. Land got assembled. Homes and lots were sold. Fourplexes an

Top News