Thursday, 14 June 2012

Making every child matter ... everywhere ... every way

We are delighted to report, that Dr Oldfield has offered to respond to this piece, in full, on behalf of The OSC.

Although the response will be in full, extracts will be kept to the minimum, possible, for a full response; copyright is not challenged.

This is a relatively hefty tome, and it will require time to work through.

Dr Oldfield reserves the right to alter the response content, at any time, which remains his copyright.

Response to:

A Picture of Abuse, CEOP, June 2012

Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield, June 2012


Curiosity is not Harm.
'Alarm' is not Harm.
Regret is not Harm.
'Upset' is not Harm.
'Fear' is not Harm.
'Shock' is not Harm.
'Trauma' is not Here.
Learning is not Harm.
Ignorance and Scaremongering are Harmful.

Dedicated to the real victims of serious harm - The OSC


1 The Propositions

In this piece, I will work from a number of propositions. Of course, they are much more than that, as they are based on almost 10 years (at least) of thorough research and personal experience.

The propositions, are as follows (others may be added, as I proceed):

(1) Viewing an image, never harmed anyone (seriously or otherwise),

(2) Owning an image, never harmed anyone (seriously or otherwise),

(3) Taking of an image of someone, never harmed anyone (seriously or otherwise),

(4) Selling of an image of someone, never harmed anyone (seriously or otherwise),

(5) An image is a digital representation of an act, which may, or may not, have occurred,

As such, as a collection of dots, it is not a victim of anything; it is not even a valid proof of reality,

(6) An image is only indecent, by the perception of the viewer,

(7) Indecency does not equate to harm (seriously or otherwise), directly or indirectly.

The first stage, for anyone who wishes to challenge (or support) these propositions (or any of the response), is to provide evidence, at this email. The evidence will then be considered and incorporated, if relevant (and credited, as such).

2 The Content and Response

2(1) Front Cover - No response.

2(2) Foreword

P1 - It’s often said you can measure how civilised a society is by the way it treats its children. For me, another measure is how well it protects them from harm.

P2a - This thematic assessment, the second in our series, addresses a new threat that has
grown exponentially with the advent of mass internet access, and the new challenge
it represents. Possession of indecent images of children is alarmingly commonplace.

P2b - It causes multiple forms of harm, including the sexual abuse involved in creating the
image; the further violation of the victim with every new viewing; the impact on the
viewer and the contribution it makes to the development of other abusive behaviour.

P3 - So, possession of such images is a crime; and rightly so. But how seriously should society, agencies, and law enforcers take those who commit the crime?

P4 -The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre is the UK’s lead agency for tackling sexual exploitation and abuse of children. Answering this question is important for us so we can channel our efforts to best effect. But it’s also a question anyone involved in protecting children should be asking themselves. It affects how police forces and children’s services prioritise their work; how severely the courts deal with offenders; and many other necessary professional judgements which add up to the extent of protection we give to our children.

P5 - This thematic assessment set out to explore the risk posed by people who possess child abuse imagery. We found some compelling evidence that anyone who possesses IIOC must be considered a risk to children. We also found that, in many cases, it was an online investigation that finally lifted the stone on years of offline sexual abuse and harm, which otherwise would have continued unabated.

P6 - This assessment will help people who make the key decisions, make better informed ones. It will help practitioners identify and understand the risks so that they can manage them. It may also bring home to a wider audience the links between online behaviour and offline risk. We hope that, as a result, our society will become better at protecting our children.

Peter Davies
Chief Executive Officer
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre


References for critique: 




"The Sentencing Commission's Child Pornography Report ("Report") issued on February 27, 2013, reflects a significant amount of detailed research and thoughtful analysis.

The Department of Justice thanks the Commission and its staff for undertaking the important task of laying the foundation for reforming sentencing practices involving non-production child pornography offenses. The Department also appreciates the opportunity it was afforded by the Commission to present its views and provide the benefit of its extensive experience in this area.

The Department agrees with a number of the Commission's conclusions. We agree that non-production child pornography offenses are serious crimes in and of themselves, even absent evidence that an offender engaged in direct sexual abuse of children. We also agree with the Commission's conclusion that non-production child pornography offenses are not "victimless" crimes. The possession, receipt, transportation, and distribution of child pornography perpetuates the harm to the victims depicted in images, validates and normalizes the sexual exploitation of children, and fuels a market, thereby leading to further production of images.

And, the Department agrees with the Commission's conclusion that advancements in technology and the evolution of the child pornography "market" have led to a significantly changed landscape — one that is no longer adequately represented by the existing sentencing guidelines.

Specifically, we agree with the Report's conclusion that the existing Specific Offense Characteristics ("SOCs") in USSG §2G2.2 may not accurately reflect the seriousness of an offender's conduct, nor fairly account for differing degrees of offender dangerousness. The current guidelines can at times under-represent and at times over-represent the seriousness of an offender's conduct and the danger an offender poses. The Report represents an important step in that effort."


Response to follow. Quoted sources being obtained.

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