Borders Conference - Rethinking the Line: The Canada-U.S. Border / Child Pornography on the Internet Session

Appendix III: Presentation Materials – Max Taylor

Slide 1

Child Pornography, the Internet and Offending

Professor Max Taylor
COPINE Project
Department of Applied Psychology
University College Cork

Slide 2


  • COPINE Project
  • Child Pornography
  • Offenders and Offending
  • Virtual Community
  • Thoughts and concerns

Slide 3

COPINE Project Background

  • Grew out of Child Studies Unit
  • Reflected a concern with child protection issues arising from new technologies

Slide 4

Project Activities

  • Child Pornography
    • Assessment of dangerousness
    • Understanding qualities of offending and offenders
    • Evidential analysis of pictures
    • Identification of victims
  • Nature and incidence of child sex tourism and child trafficking

Slide 5

Distinctive features of the Project

  • close association with law enforcement
  • emphasis on forensic/evidential value of pictures
  • focus on engagement with Internet
  • COPINE database
    • pictures
    • posting histories

Slide 6

What is child pornography? Irish Law (1)

(a) any visual representation

  • (i) that shows or, in the case of a document, relates to a person who is or is depicted as being a child and who is engaged in or is depicted as being engaged in explicit sexual activity* * [n.b. not obscenity]

Slide 7

Irish Law (2)

  • (ii) that shows or, in the case of a document, relates to a person who is or is depicted as being a child and who is or depicted as witnessing any such activity by any person or persons, or
  • (iii) whose dominant characteristic is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of the genital or anal region of a child,

Slide 8

Irish Law (3)

  • (c) any visual or audio representation that advocates, encourages or counsels any sexual activity with children …., or
  • (d) any visual representation or description of, or information relating to, a child that indicates or implies that the child is available to be used for the purpose of sexual exploitation ……..

Slide 9

Interpol Standing Working Group on Offences against Minors

Child Pornography is the consequence of the exploitation of sexual abuse perpetrated against a child……any means of depicting or promoting sexual abuse of a child, including print and/or audio, centred on sex acts or the genital organs of a child.

Slide 10

Legal vs. Offender perspective (1)

Taylor (1999) “…whilst legal definitions are …. important from legislative and judicial perspectives, approaching child pornography as a legal problem does not … help our understanding of why child pornography is produced or collected- legal definitions do not tell us about its nature…the issue of producing and collecting child pornography is essentially a psychological, rather than a legal problem”.

Slide 11

Legal vs. Offender perspective (2)


  • legal specification necessary for law enforcement management of problem
    • problem of 'good' and 'bad' offenders

  • wider psychological perspective necessary for understanding and control of problem
    • problem of becoming 'thought' police

Slide 12

Child Pornography

  • Neither pictures nor collections are accidents
  • Result from deliberate choices made by an individual to acquire and retain sexual material
  • Not all material collected will fall into legal definitions of child pornography, yet may be as sexually arousing to the individual

Slide 13

Child Pornography

  • Not homogeneous
    • variety of different kinds of images attractive to adults with a sexual interest in children

  • Typology of pictures collected
    • based on COPINE reference database
    • central focus - increasing sexual victimisation
      • 1-10 point scale of increased deliberate sexual victimisation

Slide 14

Typology (may not be illegal)

  • Level 1 Indicative
  • Level 2 Nudist
  • Level 3 Erotica
  • Level 4 Posing
  • Level 5 Erotic Posing
Date modified: