Child Pornography and the Internet: Policing and Treatment Issues

By Burke, Anne; Sowerbutts, Shawn et al. | Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, April 2002 | Go to article overview

Child Pornography and the Internet: Policing and Treatment Issues


Burke, Anne, Sowerbutts, Shawn, Blundell, Barry, Sherry, Michael, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law


A recent increase in the number of referrals for individuals who have accessed child pornography over the Internet has led to a need for clinicians to familiarise themselves with the language and concepts associated with this type of sexual offence. A brief review of the area highlights the legal dilemmas posed by the nature of the Internet. While definitional issues are a primary focus in legal processes, a demonstrated sexual arousal to children is more relevant in therapy. Modifications of traditional treatment approaches are suggested to facilitate therapeutic progress for this population. Discussion focuses on the early motivation for treatment, cognitive distortions, victim impact and cycles of offending behaviour. This work is offered as an early intervention to prevent potential future progression to hands-on sexual offending against children.

**********

"Sex" is the most searched topic on the Internet (Cooper, Scherer, Boeis, & Gordon, 1999). In cyber-space it is possible to discuss sex, see live sex acts and arrange sexual activities in complete privacy. Individuals can choose to participate in sex related discussions on the chat channels, as well as to exchange images with other users. Some child sex offenders use these services to access, trade and create child pornography, to meet and offend against potential victims, to network with other offenders, to profit financially and to locate individuals with similar interests (Cullen 1997; Zwicke, 2000). However, according to O'Connell (2001), the trading of child pornography/erotica is perhaps the most visible and distinctive feature of pedophilic activity on the Internet.

Over recent times, an increased number of referrals to the Sexual Offender Treatment and Assessment Program (SOTAP) for individuals who have accessed child pornography on the Internet, has shown the need for clinicians to better understand the language and concepts of the Internet that are raised in the therapeutic context. In order to more fully understand the process our clients had followed in accessing child pornography on the Internet, we called on the expertise of the Child Exploitation Investigation Service, a specialist division of the South Australian Police Department. This paper is the culmination of our joint research and aims to highlight some practical considerations in the policing of child pornography on the Internet, as well as to briefly describe the therapeutic approach devised by SOTAP.

Child Pornography

The Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) relates to offences committed in South Australia. Section 33 of this Act defines child pornography as indecent or offensive material in which a child (whether engaged in sexual activity or not) is depicted or described in a way that is likely to cause serious and general offence amongst reasonable adult members of the community. Here, a child refers to a person who is under, or apparently under, the age of 16 years. However, according to Section 33 (5) of the Summary Offences Act, any material with medical, legal, scientific or artistic merit cannot be considered child pornography unless there is undue emphasis on its indecent or offensive aspects.

The relevant legislation in other Australian states is similar to the South Australian legislation. For example, Section 578 of the Crimes Act 1900 of New South Wales defines child pornography as a film, publication, or computer game that describes or depicts a child under, or apparently under, the age of 16 years in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult.

Child pornography on the Internet is available in many different formats, ranging from pictures, anime (cartoon) and video, to sound files and stories (Akdeniz, 1997). Most pornographic material is distributed via email, newsgroups or World Wide Web pages. Child pornography is also distributed during conversations in chat rooms and interactive home pages, and personally via diskettes or CD-ROM's (National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 2000).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Child Pornography and the Internet: Policing and Treatment Issues
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.