Friday, 31 May 2013

Media AVP (Anti Victim Prejudice) 1, "Indecent Images Of Children - a follow up"

Following my first post, (Media Prejudice), now that we all know that images and films of child abuse and child rape should never be referred to as any sort of "porn", the question now is what exactly should they be called?

Legally (in the UK and Jersey at least) they are referred to "Indecent Photographs of Children" (Protection of Children Act 1978UK Sexual Offences act 2003, and Protection of Children Jersey Law),  so if we want to be 100% accurate, we should always be using this term. However these laws only relate to the UK and Jersey - there is a big world out there, a world that in many places uses the term "child porn" not only in it's media, but in it's laws as well.

From a personal perspective, as these images and films depict either the sexual exploitation (at the lower end of the copine scale), or actual sexual abuse (mid to high end of this scale), I would use the term "child abuse images". This term covers both ends of the scale, actual abuse and abuse of privacy of the child. Whilst some images may not portray actual abuse, having a collection of images in the lower end of the copine scale for self-gratification and distribution by paedophiles would be considered in itself a type of abuse for the vast majority of people - especially if your image was in amongst such a collection.

Calling these "child abuse images" (shortened to "child abuse pics") would also help the media in another way. A lot of the replies I have received, particularly from the BBC, state that they only have a certain number of characters that can be used in a headline and "indecent images of children" simply would not fit, meaning that they prefer to use "child porn". Whilst personally I think that this is just a poor excuse, calling them "child abuse pics" is a much shorter and snappier way of describing this crime.

My challenge ( to the UK at least to start with) is to stop using this phrase. People have been highlighting this for years now, and so far it falls on deaf ears in far too many cases. Listen and try to understand views like this. Listen not only to people like myself who have not had to live through this hideous crime, but from actual victims of this crime who have had to grow up being re-abused continually by seeing their abuse described as "pornography" by prejudicial UK media organisations.

Child abuse is exactly what it says... child abuse, and a visual recording of this should be described the same.

Not Pornography.


  1. Better, thanks

    Blair Corbett, Ark of Hope for Children

  2. Nice work! You are doing a fine job of introducing us all to the importance of changing the terms we permit for this crime. Words are so powerful. We can change our own usage, and then change the media, because it makes sense and is the right thing to do. Images of abuse are not child porn and we already use the term "snuff films," not mere "pornography," to describe videos of the sexualized murder of adults. These csa images depict the cruel and deliberate destruction of a human childhood, of his safety and trust.


  3. Hi,

    I have a problem with your suggested term "child abuse pics"

    It may just be my personal word associations but the word "pics" is just to harmless and innocent and offhand, as in "holiday pics" or "some pics of the grandchildren". I don't think we want the harmlessness of the word "pics" to become psychologically associated with the words "child abuse"

    I agree with you about some problems with the term "child porn" but at least "porn" has (I think) negative connotations

    I like the term "C.S.A. Images" (as used by Elle above) if it could be made widely recognised and mainstream.

    Perhaps a poet or linguist out there could come up with a snappy and media-friendly abbreviation with suitably negative associations .......... "S.C.U.M. Images" or something like that ??????

    1. SCAB Images ?
      as in: Sexual Child ABuse images.

      "SCAR Images" if the "R" can be given a meaning ????

  4. Hi Anon, thanks for the comment. Agree with your sentiments regarding "pics", I can see how this could be associated with CSA over time if used.

    From a personal perspective, I would much prefer "Child Abuse Images or Films" - however I have had a lot of replies stating that the media only has a certain number of characters it can use. Pics was an example I was using as it was shorter.

    This is an example of what I have received (BBC in this case)

    "Thank you for your email. While we take on board your suggestion that "indecent images" is perhaps a better term for such images, our style is that in headlines - where the number of characters we can use is limited - "child porn" is a widely-understood term and can be used as long as the story itself spells out the nature of the material or offence".

    "CSA Images" would be great alternative, but only if, as you say, it became a widely recognised term - as things are now most people would not necessarily know what this meant.