Image-Based Abuse and Trauma

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 21, 2022

Catherine Garcia
Cathy Garcia
Supervising Investigator (Ret.), Sex Crimes, Human Trafficking, and Child Abduction
San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Cadre of Experts, EVAWI
Carlton Hershman
Carlton Hershman
Detective (Ret.), San Diego Police Department, Cadre of Experts, EVAWI

Image-based sexual abuse, which is sometimes referred to as “revenge pornography” is the distribution of sexually explicit images or video of individuals without their permission. The material may be used by the perpetrators to blackmail the subjects into performing sex acts, to punish them for ending a relationship, to coerce them into continuing a relationship, or to silence them. In addition to these dynamics, extortion and monetary payment are often involved. Image-based sexual abuse is a form of psychological and domestic abuse, as well as a form of sexual abuse. This type of evidence, coupled with the suspect’s manipulative behavior, is used to control victims in domestic violence and human trafficking situations.

The investigation and prosecution of this type of crime can be difficult and complicated due to mishandling of the issues and misunderstanding the victim. Judging and holding the victim at fault can cloud the issues and severely tarnish the investigation. Image-based sexual abuse crosses racial and economic barriers as anyone can be targeted. The long-term effects of this often-overlooked crime can be devastating for victims.

The presenters will present real case investigations, many of which involve stalking or sexual assault, in addition to the image evidence.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Recognize image-based abuse in the context of investigations, emphasizing the ramifications for victims.
  • Identify local and federal criminal laws to use for investigating and prosecuting cases involving image-based abuse.
  • Develop strategies to recover and document evidence during an investigation.
  • Use image-based abuse as part of a prosecution package and filing considerations.


EVAWI is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing to provide Continuing Education contact hours for nurses (Provider #15641). 

Registered Nurses may purchase 1.5 contact hours after completing this webinar.

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