‘Send Me Some Pics’:Performing the Offender Identity in Online Undercover Child Abuse Investigations


This article presents a case study examining the performance of the offender identity in online child sexual abuse interactions between genuine suspected offenders and an undercover officer posing as an offender. Using a linguistic framework known as move analysis, the study describes and compares interactants' use of rhetorical moves, as well as move frequencies and structures. Similarities and differences in the performance of offenderness between suspected offenders and the undercover police officer are discussed. Interactions are characterised by a high level of rapport-building, sharing stories, and exchanging support. While the undercover officer largely emulates the moves of suspected offenders, key discrepancies include his comparative reluctance to engage in abuse-related story-telling and an increased tendency to inquire about abusive images. This work highlights possible target areas for police training in the task of online identity assumption in online child abuse cases.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/police/paaa065
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics
?? 53981500Jl ??
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice following peer review. The version of record Emily Chiang, (2021), ‘Send Me Some Pics’: Performing the Offender Identity in Online Undercover Child Abuse Investigations, Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Volume 15, Issue 2, June, Pages 1173–1187, https://doi.org/10.1093/police/paaa065 is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/policing/article-abstract/15/2/1173/5942749?redirectedFrom=fulltext.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Child sexual abuse,online identity performance,rhetorical goals,undercover policing,move analysis
Publication ISSN: 1752-4520
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:28
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 09:17
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://academi ... edFrom=fulltext (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-06-01
Published Online Date: 2020-10-29
Accepted Date: 2020-08-28
Authors: Chiang, Emily (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0216-1719)



Version: Accepted Version

| Preview

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record