Page 1: Participant Information Sheet

Project Title:  Offence-related cognitions in use of child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM): The role of early maladaptive schemas, parental schemas and compulsive sexual behaviours.

Researcher/Student: Huseyin Mert Turhan, huseyin.turhan@nottingham.ac.uk

Supervisor/Chief Investigator: Dr. Elena Nixonelena.nixon@nottingham.ac.uk

Second Supervisor: Dr. John Tullyjohn.tully@nottingham.ac.uk

Ethics Reference Number: FMHS 305-0621

We would like to invite you to take part in a research study about child sexual abuse and its relation to persistent thought patterns, your early life experiences, and sexual behaviours. Before you begin, we would like you to understand why the research is being done and what it involves for you.

What is the purpose of this study?

            People’s early experiences throughout childhood and their experiences with their parents might shape one’s thinking and sexual behaviour.  This study aims to understand how the origins of one’s thoughts might be related to use of child sexual exploitation materials. It also aims to examine any differences in how early experiences and thought patterns contribute to thinking and behaviour in people who have previously used CSEM and those who have not been involved in child sexual abuse. This study is conducted as part of a PhD degree at the University of Nottingham.

            We cannot promise the study will help you but the information we get from this study may help us understand better the nature of the thought patterns behind sexual offending and their relation to childhood experiences and parental behaviours, potentially advancing research knowledge. An improved understanding of how early experiences might contribute to people’s current thinking and behaviour that leads them to child sexual abuse might ultimately inform the practice of future interventions implemented with sexual offender groups.

Why have I been invited?

            You have been invited because you have approached the Lucy Faithful Foundation (LFF) in relation to online sexual abuse of children and have received a study flyer via email or through social media or other networks through the Foundation.

Do I have to take part?

            It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. You may change your mind about being involved at any time or decline to respond to a particular question. You are free to withdraw at any point before or during the study without giving a reason.  If you do decide to take part, you will be given this information sheet to keep and be asked to sign a consent form if you are filling out a pen and paper format of the questionnaires or click on the button stating “I agree” to participate in the consent form included on the online questionnaire survey.

            If you agree to participate and provide your email, you can enter a draw for a chance of receiving a £20 Amazon gift voucher as an inconvenience allowance for participating in this study. The likelihood of receiving a gift voucher is low given the high expected number of participants in this study. This allowance should not be used as an incentive for participation. Participation in this study should be based on your personal motivation to contribute to this study.

 

What will I be asked to do?

            If you choose to take part, you will be asked to complete a survey that includes a demographic information form and 5 questionnaires related to yourself and current behaviour as well as your early life experiences related to your parents. You will firstly be asked to enter some demographical information such as age, gender and socioeconomic status. You will then proceed with the questionnaire completion. Generally, most questions will prompt you to tick an item that best applies to you from several given options. These questions will be centred around aspects of yourself, your early life, including your parents’ behaviours and attitudes towards you, and your current sexual beliefs and behaviours. Completion of the survey is estimated to take between 20-30 minutes of your time.

What will happen to the information I provide?

            Any information that you provide will be anonymised meaning that it will not be associated with any identifying information directly or indirectly linked to you. The online platform that you will complete the questionnaires on will not store your Internet Protocol (IP) address, therefore any trace to you or your device will not be possible. The data you provide will be confidential and only accessible by the research team. The Lucy Faithful Foundation adopts a policy that their interaction is confidential. However, if an individual shares any identifiable information regarding the victim or any information that may suggest that they or any other person is at risk of harm, the foundation will pass the provided information to appropriate agencies. However, this study does not ask about any identifying information regarding the victim(s) or the situation (e.g., location, date, time).  They may also be looked at by authorised people from regulatory organisations to check that the study is being carried out correctly, in which case complete anonymity will be maintained. Once you have completed and submitted the questionnaires it is not possible to withdraw the data because we will not know who you are after the data have been tabulated into databases.

            We believe there are no known risks associated with this research study; however, as with any online activity the risk of a breach is always possible.  We will do everything possible to ensure your answers in this study will remain anonymous.

            The information you provide will be analysed and written up as part of a dissertation for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree by the researcher (HT). A research report will be provided to the Lucy Faithful Foundation after completion of the study. Further dissemination will include sharing results of anonymised data in publications, national and international conferences, and with academics, and forensic and clinical experts in the field. If you would like a brief summary of the findings, you can indicate by responding YES to the respective question in the Consent Form and providing your email address in the relevant box.

Are there any possible disadvantages or risks in taking part?

            We do not expect any disadvantages or risks to occur due to taking part. However, if you feel distressed or any other discomfort whilst you are completing the questionnaires, you can opt out from the study by withdrawing from the survey, without giving any reason. You can contact the Lucy Faithful Foundation or refer to organizations that are signposted at the end of this document for any help and support with your wellbeing.

Data Protection

            We will follow ethical and legal practice and all information will be handled in confidence.

Under UK Data Protection laws the University is the Data Controller (legally responsible for the data security) and the Chief Investigator of this study (named above) is the Data Custodian (manages access to the data). This means we are responsible for looking after your information and using it properly. Your rights to access, change or move of your information are limited as we need to manage your information in specific ways to comply with certain laws and for the research to be reliable and accurate. To safeguard your rights, we will use the minimum personallyidentifiable information possible.

            You can find out more about how we use your information and read our privacy notice at:

https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/utilities/privacy.aspx

            We would like your permission to use anonymised data in future studies, and to share our research data (e.g., on online databases) with other researchers in other Universities and organisations both inside and outside the European Union.  This would be used for research in health and social care. Sharing research data is important to allow peer scrutiny, re-use (and therefore avoiding duplication of research) and to understand the bigger picture in particular areas of research. All personal information that could identify you will be removed or changed before information is shared with other researchers or results are made public.

            The data collected for the study will be looked at and stored by authorised persons from the University of Nottingham who are organising the research. They may also be looked at by authorised people from regulatory organisations to check that the study is being carried out correctly. All will have a duty of confidentiality to you as a research participant and we will do our best to meet this duty.

            At the end of the project, all raw data will be kept securely by the University under the terms of its data protection policy after which it will be disposed of securely. The data will not be kept elsewhere. We would also like to email you in the future, if you give us your permission, to talk to you about any follow-up studies.

            If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask. We can be contacted before and after your participation at the email addresses above.

What if there is a problem?

            If you have any queries or complaints, please contact the student’s supervisor/chief investigator in the first instance, Dr Elena Nixon at elena.nixon@nottingham.ac.uk.

            If you remain unhappy and wish to complain formally, you should then contact the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Ethics Committee Administrator, Faculty Hub, Medicine and Health Sciences, E41, E Floor, Medical School, Queen’s Medical Centre Campus, Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham, NG7 2UH or via E-mail: FMHS-ResearchEthics@nottingham.ac.uk

What if I feel distress upon completing the survey?    

            If you feel concerned about anything related to your mental health please visit your GP as your first port of call.

            If you require immediate help, please contact the following helplines:

            You can find the contact details of your local NHSTrust mental health helpline here: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline  

             You can contact Samaritans for thoughts or attempts related to suicide by visiting www.samaritans.org and dialling their helpline number 116 123 (free and open 24 hours a day).