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Report calls for sending child-porn viewers to ‘workshops’ instead of punishing them

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June 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A controversial new report out of the United Kingdom recommends that pedophiles should no longer be prosecuted for viewing child pornography, but rather sent to “workshops” akin to remdial programs for drunk drivers.

The 132-page report, released by the think tank Justice and overseen by retired judge Peter Rook, argues that “for some types of sexual offending, prosecution and prison can be ineffective,” with the “shock of the arrest and confirmation that what they are doing is wrong” often sufficing to get offenders to stop, the Daily Mail reported.

It calls for first-time child porn viewers with no prior convictions for sexual or violent crimes to be eligible for a “deferred prosecution scheme,” under which they would have to attend five “educational meetings” over a four-month period, then a follow-up session in another eight months.

This would be “just as effective as a post-conviction sentence, if not more, without the need to use court and prosecution resources,” claims the report, which has the support of England and Wales Victims' Commissioner Dame Vera Baird. 

The plan was put forth in part as an idea to relieve the strain on government resources as the UK combats a dramatic increase in sex crimes. In 2018, 159,740 rapes and other sex attacks were recorded, more than triple the number from just a decade earlier.

“Why would we consider not prosecuting some of the most vile criminals in society just because we can't cope with the numbers?” National Association of People Abused in Childhood founder Peter Saunders asked in response. 

Saunders has previously taken issue with the idea of softening treatment of child porn viewers by noting there is “one thing abusers in all their forms do not want and that is to be caught out and identified (...) I dispute the use of the term 'low level'; anyone who looks at these images is buying into the vile trade of child abuse and must pay the full consequences.”

While calls to normalize pedophilia is still a relatively fringe view, the past few years have seen a handful of mainstream publications and institutions give platforms to the topic, from the Springer-published academic journal Sexuality & Culture to a TEDx Talk last year to the University of Toronto.

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