TWO MEMBERS OF the Oireachtas are leading a call for a new bill against sexual offences to change all references to “child pornography” to “child abuse material.”
Yesterday’s announcement of the 2014 Sexual Offences Bill includes offences against organising, producing, arranging, possessing and distributing “child pornography.”
Those strengthened legal measures – and others targeting trafficking and child grooming – have been widely welcomed.
However, there have been calls today for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to change the language of the statute to acknowledge the seriousness of images and videos featuring child sexual abuse.
“We have to call it what it is – child abuse,” Labour TD Ciara Conway told TheJournal.ie.
It’s time for us to get tough with these people.
The word ‘pornography’ has certain connotations and might give the impression that there are willing participants.
These children do not have a choice in this.
Independent Senator Jillian van Turnhout has also appealed to Fitzgerald to ensure that the new law reflects the absence of consent and “horrific” nature of child pornography.
The International Police Organisation INTERPOL has stopped using the term “child pornography” for these reasons.
Instead, the group refers to the offence as “child sexual abuse material”, “documented child sexual abuse”, “child sexual exploitive material”, “child abuse images,” or “depicted child sexual abuse.”
Pornography is a term used for adults engaging in consensual sexual acts distributed (mostly) legally to the generally public for their sexual pleasure.
Child abuse images are not.
They involve children who cannot and would not consent and who are victims of a crime.
The child abuse images are documented evidence of a crime in progress – a child being sexually abused.