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Net Blamed For Rise In Child Porn

Net blamed for rise in child porn

Child porn crimes have risen by 1,500% since 1988 and new internet mobile
phones could make things even worse, according to a children's charity. 
The internet is largely to blame for the huge rise in child porn offences,
according to a report by NCH, formerly National Children's Homes. 

The charity says 549 child porn offenders were charged or cautioned in 2001,
compared with only 35 in 1988. 

The charity fears new third generation 3G phones, with video streaming, will
lead to even more offences because they are in some ways even more

John Carr, the author of the report, told BBC Radio Five Live: "In
pre-internet days, if you wanted to get hold of child abuse images it was
quite a difficult thing to do... 

1988: 35 cautioned or charged 
2001: 549 cautioned or charged (1,500% increase) 
Since 1988, 3,022 people in total cautioned or prosecuted 
In 2002, in a single day 6,500 Britons were identified as purchasers of
child porn from a single US web site 
Source: NCH 

"The internet completely changed all that. People perhaps with a suppressed
or latent interest in it have now got a mechanism... they think the internet
is anonymous." 

He said offences committed through chat rooms had also been rising

But Ray Wyre, a sexual crime consultant who has treated offenders, said the
problem may have been worse in the past than society had realised. 

"Before 1988 child pornography, the possession of it, was not an offence,"
he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. 

"Up until then I had clients who had even been given back the child
pornography after they'd hands-on abused because there was no power to keep

'Abuser by proxy' 

Both experts agreed anyone who looked at child porn had to be considered at
least a potential "hands-on" paedophile. 

"A paedophile is somebody who sexually abuses children," said Mr Carr. 

"Anybody who looks at child pornography on the internet is an abuser by

"And over one in three people found in possession of child pornography,
according to a very large American survey, will in fact be involved in
hands-on abuse." 

On how to control the problem, Mr Carr said censorship would be undesirable
and, anyway, technically impossible to implement. 

He called on the industry to do more to make the internet safer for

He said: "We do need more and better technical solutions, and this is really
throwing a challenge down to the industry. 

"If we cannot convince the majority of the public that the internet is a
safe place for children... in the end the internet as we know it today will
cease to exist, and that will be a sad day." 

Situation 'worse' 

The figures for 2002, when they come out, are expected to be much higher
even than 2001, because of the impact of Operation Ore, an investigation
into 6,500 Britons accused of accessing one US-based child porn site using
credit cards. 

Dr Rachel O'Connell, director of the Cyberspace Research Centre at the
University of Central Lancashire, said that operation had in some ways made
the situation worse by taking up so much of police's computer crime units

"Most of their resources, if not all, are taken up investigating the cases
that were identified in Operation Ore," she told BBC Breakfast. 

"It's technically possible [to track paedophile activities on the net], the
only thing there's a shortage of is the actual resources being made
available to the police." 

Hutchison 3G is the only company to have launched the new video phones so

It and the other big five mobile phone firms - Vodafone, Virgin, T Mobile,
Orange and O2 - are publishing their own code of practice later this month
on tackling potential problems. 

- SCHRADE in Akron

The Council For Secular Humanism