When law enforcement seizes child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in an investigation, they need to quickly figure out the identity of the children in the images and videos and determine if they are safe, or their abuse is ongoing.
NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP) serves as the nation’s clearinghouse on identified child victims of CSAM. Files containing unidentified children are reviewed and analyzed for any information as to their potential location or who is responsible for their abuse. When this information can be determined, CVIP provides the analysis to the appropriate law enforcement, both domestic and international.
In addition, NCMEC's CVIP connects police who are investigating the collection of CSAM with the police who originally identified the child victim(s) depicted in the files so they can provide additional information to assist prosecution of CSAM collectors.
NCMEC also helps track the distribution of files of identified children. Many of these child victims, now adults, may choose to share their voices through victim impact statements at sentencing. Or they may want to receive notification from federal or state prosecutions of individuals who possessed or distributed images or videos of their abuse. These victims are eligible for restitution to cover medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages and more. While NCMEC does not notify victims, we are a critical step in the process, alerting the agencies to the presence of a victim in a case and working with victims and their lawyers on the restitution process.
Since the program inception in 2002, CVIP has reviewed more than 330 million images and videos.
In 2020, NCMEC received 3,220 requests from law enforcement, containing more than 15 million images and videos. Analysts help determine if the children depicted have been previously identified or if they are unknown or new victims.