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BMC Psychiatry. 2009 Jul 14;9:43. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-9-43.

The consumption of Internet child pornography and violent and sex offending.

Author information

1
Department of Justice, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland. jerome.endrass@ji.zh.ch

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is an ongoing debate on whether consumers of child pornography pose a risk for hands-on sex offenses. Up until now, there have been very few studies which have analyzed the association between the consumption of child pornography and the subsequent perpetration of hands-on sex offenses. The aim of this study was to examine the recidivism rates for hands-on and hands-off sex offenses in a sample of child pornography users using a 6 year follow-up design.

METHODS:

The current study population consisted of 231 men, who were subsequently charged with consumption of illegal pornographic material after being detected by a special operation against Internet child pornography, conducted by the Swiss police in 2002. Criminal history, as well as recidivism, was assessed using the criminal records from 2008.

RESULTS:

4.8% (n = 11) of the study sample had a prior conviction for a sexual and/or violent offense, 1% (n = 2) for a hands-on sex offense, involving child sexual abuse, 3.3% (n = 8) for a hands-off sex offense and one for a nonsexual violent offense. When applying a broad definition of recidivism, which included ongoing investigations, charges and convictions, 3% (n = 7) of the study sample recidivated with a violent and/or sex offense, 3.9% (n = 9) with a hands-off sex offense and 0.8% (n = 2) with a hands-on sex offense.

CONCLUSION:

Consuming child pornography alone is not a risk factor for committing hands-on sex offenses - at least not for those subjects who had never committed a hands-on sex offense. The majority of the investigated consumers had no previous convictions for hands-on sex offenses. For those offenders, the prognosis for hands-on sex offenses, as well as for recidivism with child pornography, is favorable.

PMID:
19602221
PMCID:
PMC2716325
DOI:
10.1186/1471-244X-9-43
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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