Move To Ban All Images Of Child Abuse

Tough new legislation to crack down on child sex abuse images is currently being considered by the Government, it was announced today. The Government is hoping to introduce a new offence that would criminalise the possession of cartoons, drawings and material created by the manipulation of computer software depicting the sexual abuse of children.

Currently there is only legislation for possession of photographic images. A consultation paper launched today said that while cartoons and drawings do not harm children in the same way as indecent photographs, the material is causing increasing concern in the UK and internationally.

There is concern that the images fuel abuse of real children by reinforcing potential abuser’s inappropriate feelings towards children. It is expected that a new offence would not be used often on its own as collectors of material of this kind almost always have indecent photographs of children.

Criminalising possession would allow the police to forfeit the images and therefore take them out of circulation. Announcing the launch of the consultation document, Criminal Justice Minister David Hanson said the first priority of the criminal justice system is to protect the public, especially the most vulnerable in our society.

“It is important that in this age of computer images and drawings there are no loopholes in the law that would allow indecent images of children being exploited or abused,” he said.

“This consultation will carefully consider the issues of indecent images of child abuse. The police must be able to confiscate any images of children that have been produced for a sexual reason, but we must also consider artistic freedom and historical and research issues.

“This is a very sensitive and complex issue and I would urge anyone with a view to respond to this consultation.”