Modern Perceptions of Child Pornography Offenders

As noted already, the number of child pornography-related arrests, investigations, prosecutions, and convictions has increased, especially since the advent of the Internet. For example, in 2006, there were an estimated 3,672 arrests for crimes involving possession of child pornography—more than twice the number of arrests made in 2000. Researchers have compared offender characteristics between both these time periods, finding a number of similarities (Wolak et al., 2011). During both time

table 5.1 Myths and Realities on Child Pornography Perpetrators



The offender is a "dirty old man."

The perpetrator is neither "dirty" nor old.

The offender is a stranger to the child.

Most victims know the perpetrator.

The offender is an alcoholic or drug addict.

Alcohol and other drugs are not critical to the commission of the crime.

The offender is sexually frustrated.

The majority of offenders have normal sexual functioning and relationships with adult partners.

The offender is mentally ill.

Offenders rarely have mental impairments or low intelligence.

periods, most cases involved offenders who were non-Hispanic White males, with varying educational backgrounds, incomes, and geographic locations. Few had prior sexual-offense histories against children, and young adults (ages 18-25) made up less than 20% of those arrested.

With regard to demographic characteristics, we see that not much has changed with child pornography offenders since the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the notable exception of the sharp increase in the number of offenses. In light of the increased range, volume, and accessibility of sexually abusive imagery involving children, research has attempted to expand earlier views of offenders in an effort to inform policy and clinical decisions regarding risk, treatment, and supervision. To this end, more recent research has focused on criminal histories, clinical diagnoses, and risk factors of offenders to develop more in-depth, informative profiles.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >