The Australian: Study finds no link between child porn and sex abuse

Study finds no link between child porn and sex abuse | The Australian

From correspondents in Paris | July 14, 2009
Article from: Agence France-Presse

MEN without a prior sex conviction who look at child pornography on the internet are unlikely to sexually assault a child, according to Swiss scientists.

Researchers led by Frank Urbaniok of the Canton of Zurich Department of Justice delved into the criminal record of 231 men who were charged with viewing child pornography via a US website.

In the six years before the 2002 police operation, only one per cent were known to have committed a hands-on sex offence.

And only one per cent of the men committed a hands-on sex offence in the six years afterwards.

The study reinforces previous research which found most consumers of internet child pornography are well-educated and view other types of illegal pornography as well, including sexual acts involving animals or violence.

Mr Urbaniok said men who surfed the web for child pornography were sex offenders, but it should not be automatically assumed that they were a risk for sexually assaulting a child.

‘Our results support the assumption that these consumers, in fact, form a distinct group of sex offenders,’ he said.

‘Probably, the motivation for consuming child pornography differs from the motivation to physically assault minors.

‘Furthermore, the recidivism rates of one per cent for hands-on and four per cent for hands-off sex offences were quite low.’

A 2005 paper by Canadian researchers Michael Seto and Angela Eke found that of 201 men charged with child pornography offences, 24 per cent had prior offences for sexual contact.

Four per cent went on to commit a subsequent sexual offence after being charged or prosecuted.

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