Possessing Internet Child
Pornography Is A Serious Crime With Serious Consequences, Study
Contact: Erika Mantz
UNH Media Relations
June 7, 2005
Editors: Janis Wolak, a researcher in UNH’s Crimes against
Children Research Center, is available for interviews at (603) 862-4691.
DURHAM, N.H. – People arrested for possessing Internet child
pornography have typically committed serious offenses and received
serious sentences, according to the first national study of the
problem by researchers at the University of New Hampshire. The study
found the majority of child pornography possessors caught by the
justice system had downloaded sexually explicit images of very young
children and images that graphically depicted sexual penetration.
More than half had molested a child or attempted to do so.
Allaying concerns that law enforcement has been unresponsive to
the problem, the study also found substantial numbers of arrests
and high rates of conviction and incarceration. According to the
authors of the report, this success is due in part to the incontrovertible
evidence that child pornography investigations typically find.
The report, "Child-Pornography Possessors Arrested in Internet-Related
Crimes: Findings From the National Juvenile Online Victimization
Study," was authored by researchers Janis Wolak, David Finkelhor,
and Kimberly Mitchell from the University of New Hampshire’s
Crimes against Children Research Center, with funding from the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children and U.S. Department
of Justice. The study involved surveys and interviews with a national
sample of more than 2,500 law enforcement agencies.
“This study documents the inherent seriousness of child pornography
possession,” said Wolak. “Although their identities
are often unknown, the children in these graphic images were sexually
abused and exploited. People who view and possess these images are
adding to the burdens of these young victims, whose trauma may be
increased by knowing their pictures are circulating globally on
the Internet with no hope of being removed.”
The study found a broad spectrum of individuals and law enforcement
agencies around the country were involved in bringing child pornography
possession cases to light. Key recommendations call for increased
efforts to encourage individuals to report pornographic images of
children and more resources for law enforcement in the handling
of these cases.
The full report is available on the CCRC Web site at http://www.unh.edu/ccrc
under “Internet Crimes against Children” or on the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children Web site at http://www.missingkids.com
under “Featured Publications” or by calling the toll-free
hotline at 1-800 THE LOST (1-800-843-5678).