What is the target group?
This program is for those who are worried about their sexual urges involving children. This includes for example individuals who have never sexually abused a child but are worried about their urges to do so; individuals who have sexually abused a child or viewed pictures or films of children for sexual purposes in the past and want help with their thoughts and urges; and individuals who are actively using this material or have other ongoing problematic behaviors and want help stopping.
From our clinical experience and previous research, we know that having a sexual interest in children can lead to difficulties in different aspects of life, for example anxiety and shame, stressful family situations, fear of being exposed, as well as other potential consequences.
What is the program like that is being evaluated?
We are evaluating an updated version of the treatment program Prevent It. The program builds on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a very established and scientifically well validated form of psychotherapy. Research shows that for many conditions, CBT is as effective when delivered over the internet compared to in-person. The first version of Prevent It proved to be effective, safe, and well-appreciated (see results).
This specific CBT program consists of nine modules/treatment chapters which include a short video, a longer text to read through, and a worksheet to submit. Then participants will receive weekly individual feedback from a therapist. The program is nine weeks long, with a follow-up questionnaire after four more weeks. All conversation is done via online chat or messages within the platform. To go through initial assessments, we hold a live chat interview within the platform. The aim of the treatment is not to change the participants' sexual attraction to children, instead we teach them ways to cope with their feelings, thoughts, and urges. We want to help them learn how not to act on them and increase their quality of life.
In this clinical trial we are comparing against a waitlist control. This means that participants will have equal chances of either being included directly into the cognitive behavioral therapy program or being placed on a waitlist for 13 weeks before being able to join. During those 13 weeks they will still receive requests to fill in weekly questionnaires. After this time they will receive access to the program and active therapist assistance. This process is used so that we can test our program rigorously in order to ensure a high quality and effective treatment.
Can I be anonymous?
Yes. All participation is anonymous and no identifiable information about you will be collected (e.g. no contact details, personal ID, geographical- or IP-address). The treatment platform is accessible via TOR browser. Onion link to the platform: https://6wvybf7ub3xk5ow66wt7os3aovbzoo2eei6vjirvhvvkmqg4alnezzid.onion/sites/preventit/
Do I need an email address?
The benefits of using an email address include us being able to reach participants by email to remind them to take the next step in the treatment. Another benefit is to be able to help participants with password resets, should they lose their password to the platform. This means that the person who chooses not to leave an email is responsible for keeping their login information safe, as there would be no way to recover the password without an email attached.
The risks, however, include the identification of participants found through exposure from the use of email. It's relatively hard to obtain an email address anonymously. Using one single email address for more than one purpose, say for Prevent it and other email communication, is risky because it makes identification easier if your information is exposed. This is why we encourage participants to create an email just for platform use.
How is my information stored?
One of the most important and central aspects to us is to keep all information about our participants secure. All potentially person-identifiable data, such as email address (if one is being used), conversations, chats, and answers to assignments, is stored in encrypted form. The risk of identification based on stored data, even for someone with access to the data in a decrypted form, is under the participant’s control - by avoiding typing in identifying data (for example in conversations and chats), or by avoiding using an email address that can be linked to an individual, there is very little information stored that could make linking possible.
The only information being stored that could potentially help with a confirmation attack to link a participant to other stored data is timestamps in the database indicating the date and time of a certain action being taken, such as when a message was sent, or an assignment was answered. These timestamps would then have to be correlated with other data somehow obtained outside of the platform, pointing at a person. We consider this risk to be low.
How is my data handled outside of the platform?
The platform has functionality for exporting data from the study to excel files, to be stored on the computer of the therpist performing the export. Only the therapists/researchers can do this and will do so at the end of the study.
How is my data handled after the study?
The way sensitive data is handled once the study is finished affects the long-term privacy for participants. Data is going to be exported from the platform and stored in approved systems at Karolinska Institutet that require multi-factor authentication or are security-classified to be able to store sensitive personal data. The data will be shared with researchers at the collaborating universities, using a service that requires multi-factor authentication and makes it possible to securely share and receive data from internal and external users. Data is stored so that unauthorized persons cannot access it. All persons who handle the data are covered by confidentiality obligations, either through their form of employment or via confidentiality agreements established in accordance with the universities instructions. The data will be used to do statistical analyses, which will be published and used to see the efficacy of the treatment.
Data may be shared with other researchers, but we will only share numerical responses that cannot be traced to you. We will not share any demographics, timestamps, or communications with your therapist.
What are the benefits of using a Tor browser?
Using Tor Browser to connect to the platform protects the user from being tracked on the network layer by hindering the IP address from being linked to the web site of the platform. Tor Browser also stops several methods of tracking on the application layer.
Onion link to the platform: https://6wvybf7ub3xk5ow66wt7os3aovbzoo2eei6vjirvhvvkmqg4alnezzid.onion/sites/preventit/
What other measures have you taken for my safety?
Therapists and administrators of the platform use two-factor authentication (2FA) when logging in to the platform. The second factor is the ability to read incoming text messages to a certain phone number, one per therapist or administrator.
I have other questions not found on this website
Feel free to email us at preventit [at] protonmail.com