U.K. Study Shows No Link Between Child Porn, Abuse

Kat Khan
LANCASHIRE, U.K. — A new study conducted by the U.K.’s Lancashire Constabulary and a Ph.D. student from the University of Liverpool has found there is no connection between viewing child pornography and sexual abuse of children, a senior U.K. police officer said this week.

The study says it finds that those who download graphic images of children via the Internet will not necessarily become child molesters.

"The consensus is that there has not proven to be a link between the viewing of pornography and the committing of hands-on offences,” Lancashire Police Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Kirby told the International Investigative Psychology Conference on Thursday. "In a follow-up study by Lancashire Police, that was found to be clearly the case."

The study reviewed 18 men with an average age of 41 who had downloaded child porn. The study labeled 70 percent of the men as child porn “enthusiasts” who spend a majority of their time online, often live alone or with their parents, do not have children and have no previous convictions.

Thirty percent were labeled “pedophiles” who are in long-term relationships, have children but do not live with them and are unskilled and likely to change their jobs frequently. None of the 18 men were categorized as “predatory.”

A previous study conducted by Kirby reviewed 219 sex offenders and found only a fifth had re-offended during a 15-year period.

Kirby added that more research focusing on educating potential victims is needed.

"We have focused a lot on the offender and we know a lot about them and have a good understanding of them,” Kirby said. “But crime is affected by the dynamics surrounding the victim. This is an area that still needs to be explored. We are in no way saying the victim plays any role in instigating the offences. The culpability always lies with the offender. But as we learn more about the dynamics of the offences, the more we can do in terms of prevention."