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Coping Strategies

Computer forensics discussion. Please ensure that your post is not better suited to one of the forums below (if it is, please post it there instead!)
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Site Admin

Re: Coping Strategies

Post Posted: Mar 07, 08 17:12

A very important topic. I've merged this thread with the earlier discussion (thanks Minesh) and stickied it.

Jamie Morris
Forensic Focus
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Senior Member

Re: Coping Strategies

Post Posted: Mar 08, 08 04:08

Jonathan makes an excellent point that I have come across several times in the years I have done this job and that is officers dealing with this subject who have children themselves sometimes find it impossible to look at the evidence we produce especially if their child happens to be the same age as the subject of the evidence.

Where we have an officer who is dealing with this for the first time I always make a point of sitting them down and going through the evidence with them to make sure they understand it and to make sure they can handle looking at it. I have done this since an incident about 4 years ago where an interviewing officer saw the evidence for the first time in interview and on being confronted with the first Cat 4 movie couldnt handle it and walked out of the interview leaving the suspect and his solicitor with the computer and evidence.

Now if I think the interviewing officer cant handle it I will actually say to their supervisory officer and offer to sit in on the interview. Its not ideal from our time point of view but I think we sometimes forget that not everyone is as used to this stuff as we are and we also have a responsibility to consider the welfare of others involved in these matters (in my view). This problem is compounded in LE with the macho culture that stops coppers from actually saying they can't do it and trying to struggle through.

In respect of an examiners welfare I think the examiner themselves must be able to acknowledge at times they have had enough and need a break. In our office (there are two of us) what we tend to do when that happens is shut the case down for a couple of days and do a nice fraud or something just for a break.

Still, after 9 years of it I only have 264 working days left to retirement and a bit of relaxation maybe.


Re: Coping Strategies

Post Posted: Apr 22, 08 21:34

I am curious to hear what others' opinions on Steve862's comment about the rewards of doing CP cases are.

As I am starting to pursue CF as a career, I have been thinking a lot about what aspect I would like to go into (corporate side vs. law enforcement), and CP is of course something that people bring up when I mention wanting to go law enforcement side. Now, I have not experienced having to deal with it, but it would seem to me that the benefits of knowing that you are helping to catch those producing, trading, collecting, etc. CP would outweigh the negatives.

One interesting thought that came to my mind would be that if you do find that the benefits outweigh the negatives (i.e. stress or emotional pain, etc.) does anyone have an opinion about how successful you have to be for the benefits to triumph? Does just catching one perp or rescuing one victim make it worth it? Or do you need to be successful 50% of the time for it to not wear you down?

I'm sure all of these issues can vary greatly from one investigator to another, but I think it would be interesting to see what some different takes on this issue are.
Iowa State University
MS Student: CprE and InfAs
BS-CprE & BS-ComS
Graduating: Dec. 2008 


Re: Coping Strategies

Post Posted: Oct 05, 08 00:56

Hi, dont know if this would be of any use to anyone else, but when I find child abuse images on a subject PC, my thought immediately is "Now I got you with luck you're going to jail" and each additional image is another nail to hold him there. That way I can cope with what I see, and read. Generally we also try to intersperse CAI cases with other stuff like fraud etc. We have a councillor who comes every two months or so, but I sometimes find this a little awkward, and although very pleasant and a good listener etc, I dont know her well enough to tell every thing.
As for the level of success, just the positive result of the current case is enough, you are never going to eradicate even 10% of them, so work on the principal that each one you put away is one less out there.
Although I'm sure corporate work would be financially rewarding, the "rewards" of the law enforcement side can be far more satisfying.  

Senior Member

Re: Coping Strategies

Post Posted: Oct 05, 08 22:10

I have been investigating these kinds of cases for two and a half years now. When I started our little girl was only two and our son wasn't born yet. I have had times when I've been disgusted at some of the things that I've seen to the point where I've just had to shut off my screens and go for a short walk. I don't plan on doing these kinds of cases my whole life but I don't have a problem doing them unless they are large cases or I get a lot of them in short space of time. When this happens its more depressing then disturbing. I think it can be quite easy to become cynical and lose faith in humanity at times, but that's when I come home to my wonderful little family, making me forget about work.

When doing cases like this it can be easy to think 'This guys going down, and I'm going to make sure of it'. I've fallen into that trap before and it is unproductive an dangerous. You lose your objectivity and, once that's gone, it is very difficult to get it back. This can put the whole investigation at risk or even cause an innocent party a great deal of distress.
The views expressed by me do not reflect on my employer or the quality of work I produce Wink


Re: Coping Strategies

Post Posted: Oct 06, 08 14:13

I think you mis-understand my motivation. Unlike yours my only son is almost fully grown so I dont have that sort of additional "pressure" if that is the correct term to use. I have investigated CAI cases where I have found that the alleged offender was "set up" by a disgruntled Ex. Even though I found references and indications, you can only present what is there and where possible where it came from.
I understand where you are coming from but I find that the majority of CAI cases I get the alleged offender is responsible, and I get huge satisfaction from proving that.
I suppose it's a case of horses for courses and what ever works for each individual is OK so long as it gets you through the day.
This is my coping strategy and it works for me, as I'm sure yours works for you.
It's always good for me to hear the thoughts and opinions of others you never know what you might learn. Cheers
Very Happy

Senior Member

Re: Coping Strategies

Post Posted: Oct 06, 08 18:23

The thing that gets me more than anything else is that I sit and sometime wonder "What's the point?"

In this day and age in this country unless the person has some REALLY bad stuff on their computer they are given a suspended sentence. The same goes for the majority of the cases we work on. The time, money, and resources spent on bringing people to justice is not mirrored by the judgements passed and the sentence given. The sad thing is that I know of cases where the guy pleads guilty, is given a suspended sentence, then offends again straight away.

Where does the motivation come from then?
The views expressed by me do not reflect on my employer or the quality of work I produce Wink

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