• ‘How would a child see it?’ exploring the impact when a parent downloads IIOC

      Thornhill, Lisa Marie (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-05)
      This thesis explored the impact on children when their father is arrested for downloading indecent images of children (IIOC). There is existing research which identifies the risk posed by people who download IIOC, however there is no research which explores the risk fathers present to their biological children. There is limited guidance for practitioners responsible for risk management in a family setting. As such, there is a danger that families will receive inconsistent responses from intervening agencies. This is the first piece of research which specifically explored how children who have a parent who downloads IIOC are affected. An inductive thematic analysis was undertaken. Data collection involved qualitative interviews with nine fathers who had been arrested for downloading IIOC, three mothers who had children with a man arrested for downloading IIOC, one step mother in a relationship with a man who had downloaded IIOC and one 17-year-old girl whose father had been convicted of downloading IIOC. The adults in this study are connected (as a parent or step parent) with a combined total of 27 children, 19 of whom were under the age of 18. The research was underpinned by the following theoretical frameworks: resilience, risk, the social construction of childhood and symbolic interactionism. The research provides a unique insight into the journey of the child, starting from when their father is arrested, followed by exploration of what they are told (if anything) about their father’s offending and how the entire experience impacts on them. The data revealed a wide variety of risks to the child in this context, for example: the risk the child has been exposed to the images, the risk that they will be told about the offence in a way that is emotionally harmful to them, the risk either parent would attempt or commit suicide, the risk that the child has been sexually abused or will be in the future, the risk that the offence will feature in the media and the child will become isolated and bullied, the risk of harm caused by separation from their parent and the risk that the non-offending parent will not be able to cope. The families shared valuable insights about their experience of intervening agencies. The thesis concludes with recommendations for practice, policy, and the development of materials for children, as well as raising further questions which may be addressed in future research. ix policy, and the development of materials for children, as well as raising further questions which may be addressed in future research.