MoJ: New proposals will make all obscene images of children illegal

Ministry of Justice Press Release

New proposals will make all obscene images of children illegal – Ministry of Justice

Consultation on possession of non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse [PDF 0.34mb, 25 pages]
Summary of responses and next steps [PDF 0.24mb, 28 pages]: The report summarises the responses received to the consultation, and describes how the consultation process has influenced the final shape of the policy and the conclusions we have reached on the terms, definitions and thresholds within the offence.

28 May 2008

All images of child sexual abuse, including drawings and computer-generated images of child abuse will be illegal and offenders holding such images will face criminal charges and up to three years in prison under new proposals announced by Justice Minister Maria Eagle today.

The proposals were announced as part of the government’s response to a public consultation on the possession of non-photographic visual depictions of underaged children engaged in sexual activity. It acknowledges the view that paedophiles could be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons.

Commenting, Maria Eagle, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Justice, said:

‘These new proposals will help close a loophole that we believe paedophiles are using to create images of child sexual abuse.

‘This is not about criminalising art or pornographic cartoons more generally, but about targeting obscene, and often very realistic, images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society.’

The distribution or sale of material is currently illegal under the Obscene Publications Act, and possession of photos of child pornography is unlawful, but it is not yet a criminal offence to possess drawings and computer generated images of child abuse. The proposals announced today will create a new criminal offence to possess drawings and computer-generated images of underaged children in sexual activity.

Notes to editors

1. The Consultation on the Possession of Non-Photographic Visual Depictions of Child Sexual Abuse was launched by the Home Office on 2 April 2007 and closed on 22 June 2007.
2. For further enquiries, please call Suzanne Colley on 0207 210 0675.”

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