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Why internet users’ perceptions of viewing child exploitation material matter for prevention policies

Hunn, C ORCID: 0000-0002-0691-647X, Spiranovic, C ORCID: 0000-0002-5270-8719, Prichard, J ORCID: 0000-0002-8481-7100 and Gelb, K 2020 , 'Why internet users’ perceptions of viewing child exploitation material matter for prevention policies' , Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology , pp. 1-20 , doi: 10.1177/0004865820903794.

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There are claims that the societal appetite for ‘child exploitation material’ is increasing. Yet,Australia’s policy response does not include initiatives to dissuade potential offenders fromdeliberately viewing child exploitation material for the first time (onset). To critically examinethis issue, this paper draws on Situational Crime Prevention theory. It argues that (a) manyfirst-time child exploitation material viewers fit the Situational Crime Prevention construct ofthe Opportunistic Offender and (b) suggests that current policy overlooks the kinds of noninstrumentalfactors that increase the risk of onset for this group, including doubts about thecriminality and harmfulness of viewing child exploitation material. The paper then empiricallyexamines social attitudes to child exploitation material viewing by presenting the findings of asurvey of 504 Australian internet users. Results indicate that a sizeable minority of theparticipants were: unaware that it is a crime to view certain types of child exploitationmaterial in Australia; and held doubts about the harmfulness of viewing child exploitationmaterial. These findings are used to reflect on how the presence of these non-instrumentalfactors among ordinary internet users may affect the offending readiness of theOpportunistic Offender. Policy implications are then briefly discussed.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hunn, C and Spiranovic, C and Prichard, J and Gelb, K
Keywords: child exploitation material, internet users, opportunistic offender, prevention policy, situational crime prevention theory, social attitudes
Journal or Publication Title: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Publisher: Australian Acad Press
ISSN: 0004-8658
DOI / ID Number: 10.1177/0004865820903794
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 the authors

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