Crime, Computers and Society
Willan – 2008 – 272 pages
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 with judges.
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:
'This book provides an excellent overview of the current situation relating to child pornography on the internet, is an extremely interesting, topical and illuminating read.' - Kim Stevenson, University of Plymouth
'This is a well written, thoughtful, and highly recommended book.' - Philip Wane, Nottingham Trent University
Part I: Understanding the Context 1. Liberalisation and Mass Production 1.1 Paedophiles Start Networking 1.2 Recognising the Problem 1.3 A Cottage Industry Emerges 1.4 International Developments 1.5 Law Enforcement Trumped by New Technologies 2. The Role of the Internet 2.1 The Internet using Population 2.2 Illegal Content and Internet Misuse 2.3 How does the Internet Facilitate Child Sexual Exploitation? 2.4 Scale of the Problem 2.5 How has Internet Changed Nature and Use of Child Pornography? 2.6 Evolution of the Internet 3. Why does it Matter? 3.1 The Problem of Definition 3.2 Harmful Effects 3.3 Who are the Child Pornographers? 3.4 Why the Attraction? 3.5 Features of Contemporary Child Pornography 3.6 A Psychological Perspective Part II: A National Case Study 4. Ireland in Focus 4.1 A Legacy of Ill Treatment 4.2 Acknowledging Child Sexual Abuse 4.3 Concern About Commercial Sexual Exploitation 4.4 Closing Legal Loopholes 4.5 Operation Amethyst and its Aftermath 4.6 Police Investigations 4.7 Child Pornography Suspects 4.8 Prosecutorial Discretion 4.9 Outcomes 4.10 Judicial Perspectives 4.11 Aggravating and Mitigating Factors 4.12 Making the Punishment Fit the Crime 4.13 Closing Observation Part III: Formulating a Response 5. Policing: Challenges and Consequences 5.1 Police Operations 5.2 Difficulties Policing Child Pornography 5.3 Lessons from a National Case Study 5.4 Pitfalls 5.5 The Limits of Traditional Policing 6. Prosecuting and Punishing 6.1 Why Prosecutions Failed 6.2 Potential Challenges to Successful Prosecutions 6.3 Choosing an Appropriate Penalty 6.4 Eroding Disparities 6.5 Concluding Comment 7. Where to from here? 7.1 A Modern Malaise and an Unforgiving Response 7.2 Mixed Messages 7.3 A Dangerous Distraction? 7.4 The Fear Factor 7.5 And Finally…