This book explores the enduring appeal of child pornography and its
ramifications for criminal justice systems around the world. It is
based on an extensive review of academic literature and newspaper
coverage, a trawl of websites frequented by those with a sexual
interest in children, a survey of how police investigate these
offences, examination of prosecutors' decisions, and interviews
It provides a framework for understanding the contemporary nature
of this problem, especially the harms it causes, its intimate
relationship with new technologies and the challenges it poses to
law enforcement authorities. The internet plays a pivotal role. Its
sheer size, the anarchic way it grows, the lack of any boundaries
to its expansion and its disregard for national borders make it a
legal environment without parallel.
An unwavering focus on the threat of sexual abuse has contributed
to the emergence of a context where routine dealings with children
are viewed through a 'paedophilic' lens. This can have the
unfortunate consequence of distracting attention from more urgent
concerns (such as poverty and neglect), which make children
vulnerable to sexual exploitation. In this way an emphasis on the
sexualisation of children could be said to aggravate the problem
that it sets out to address. The book:
- provides a comprehensive analysis of child pornography issues
in all of their complexity, including legal, psychological,
criminal justice and social perspectives.
- presents significant volume of original empirical data gathered
from police, prosecutors and judges.
- includes new qualitative and quantitative information set
against a background of shifting international developments. The
analysis is explicitly comparative.
- draws on a variety of sources including support groups for
paedophiles, newspaper coverage of court cases involving child
pornography, victim testimony and police operations.
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