Legalizing child pornography is linked to lower rates of child sex abuse

Could making child pornography legal lead to lower rates of child sex abuse? It could well do, according to a new study by Milton Diamond, from the University of Hawaii, and colleagues.

Results from the Czech Republic showed, as seen everywhere else studied (Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sweden, USA), that rape and other sex crimes have not increased following the legalization and wide availability of pornography. And most significantly, the incidence of child sex abuse has fallen considerably since 1989, when child pornography became readily accessible — a phenomenon also seen in Denmark and Japan. Their findings are published online today in Springer’s journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

The findings support the theory that potential sexual offenders use child pornography as a substitute for sex crimes against children. While the authors do not approve of the use of real children in the production or distribution of child pornography, they say that artificially produced materials might serve a purpose.

Diamond and team looked at what actually happened to sex-related crimes in the Czech Republic as it transitioned from having a strict ban on sexually explicit materials to a situation where the material was decriminalized. Pornography was strictly prohibited between 1948 and 1989. The ban was lifted with the country’s transition to democracy and, by 1990, the availability and ownership of sexually explicit materials rose dramatically. Even the possession of child pornography was not a criminal offense.

The researchers monitored the number of sex-related crimes from Ministry of Interior records — rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, and child sex abuse in particular — for 15 years during the ban and 18 years after it was lifted.

Most significantly, they found that the number of reported cases of child sex abuse dropped markedly immediately after the ban on sexually explicit materials was lifted in 1989. In both Denmark and Japan, the situation is similar: Child sex abuse was much lower than it was when availability of child pornography was restricted.

Other results showed that, overall, there was no increase in reported sex-related crimes generally since the legalization of pornography. Interestingly, whereas the number of sex-related crimes fell significantly after 1989, the number of other societal crimes — murder, assault, and robbery — rose significantly.

Reference

Diamond M et al (2010). Pornography and sex crimes in the Czech Republic. Archives of Sexual Behavior. DOI 10.1007/s10508-010-9696-y

The full-text article is available to journalists on request.

2 COMMENTS

  1. There is a whole industry living off child pornography, that is the industry of “charity” workers, prison officers and policemen who could be doing a productive job like going after people committing a real crime and not wasting taxpayer money going after those who all they do is to look.

    Now we have real data proving that if child pornography was legal there would be less people abusing kids, that will be uncomfortable for the political correct people, religious fanatics and those making a living off harassing those who have committed no other crime other than “looking”.

    The persecution of gays took went on for centuries, and still goes on in some countries, how many years will it take to do what is right and make child pornography legal?

    If making child pornography legal can save a single kid from abuse I think it is well worth the investment.

  2. Where do you get your facts from ? Probably from the people selling child porn and those wanting to abuse children

    ………., there are a number of compelling statistics that suggest pornography does have profound social consequences. For example, in the 1400 child sexual molestation cases in Louisville, Kentucky, between July 1980 and February 1984, adult pornography was connected with each incident and child pornography with the majority of them.

    Police officers have seen the impact pornography has had on serial murderers. In fact, pornography consumption is one of the most common profile characteristics of serial murderers and rapists.

    In his introduction to a reprint of the Final Report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, columnist Michael McManus noted that
    The FBI interviewed two dozen sex murderers in prison who had killed multiple numbers of times. Some eighty-one percent said their biggest sexual interest was in reading pornography. They acted out sex fantasies on real people. For example, Arthur Gary Bishop, convicted of sexually abusing and killing five young boys said, `If pornographic material would have been unavailable to me in my early states, it is most probable that my sexual activities would not have escalated to the degree they did.’ He said pornography’s impact on him was `devastating. . . . I am a homosexual pedophile convicted of murder, and pornography was a determining factor in my downfall.'”

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