The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


'Pleasure' from watching abuse of babies and children

A Blenheim man’s statements to Department of Internal Affairs Inspectors have given a striking example of one of the reasons why pictures of children being sexually abused are illegal: they reinforce some men’s sexual interest in children.

In the Blenheim District Court today, a man was sentenced to eight months jail on a total of 30 charges of distributing and collecting electronic pictures of babies and children being raped and violently abused. The start of the jail term has been deferred so that he can apply for home detention. The Court also ordered forfeiture and destruction of his computer.

The Director of the Department’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said that the man spoke to Department Inspectors about the pleasure he derived from the pictures and his personal reactions to them.

At the same time, New Zealand and British researchers and those who provide treatment for child sex offenders indicate that there is a clear association between looking at child sex abuse images and committing sexual assaults on children.

“Even if a particular individual does not himself go on to physically abuse children,” Mr Manch said, “his collection and distribution of child sex abuse images spreads a message that reinforces the false views held by some that sex with children is acceptable.

“Tragically, for the images to have been created in the first place, children were abused. The victims are real babies and children.

1. Comment from John McCarthy, Director SAFE Network; and Child abuse, child pornography and the internet, John Carr, NCH UK
“Men who collect and distribute these images create a ‘market’ that encourages abuse. They demand more images and more extreme images. They give the abusers notoriety as ‘good’ sources of images, and they seek their own notoriety as distributors and owners of the largest collections, of having pictures of the youngest victims or of the most violent abuse.

“Without them, fewer children would have been abused, and there would be less danger of more abuse in the future.”

The Department sees its action against and other offenders as giving warnings to them and other men who collect or distribute child sex abuse images:
· if they continue they will eventually be caught, and
· their actions are about sexual interest in children. If they cannot stop themselves, they should get help from a counsellor or psychologist experienced in dealing with sexual offending.

Summary of case

In January 2002 a Department Inspector detected a New Zealander operating in Internet relay chat channels dedicated to trading child sex abuse images.

During an online discussion with the Inspector, the New Zealander said he liked images of young children and he had no age limits. He sent the Inspector 10 pictures of children aged between two and 12 years being sexually abused.

In June 2002 the same New Zealander was again detected in one of the channels. On this occasion he sent the Inspector five pictures of children aged between five and nine years being sexually abused.

By analysing the two contacts the Department was able to identify him and track him to his home address. A search warrant was executed in November 2002. A computer system, CD-ROMS and diskettes were seized. Analysis revealed 458 pictures believed to be objectionable and a history of downloading and deleting other pictures.

He is a 33-year-old unemployed man of Blenheim. He had pleaded guilty to all charges.

Background note for writers and editors:
“Child sex abuse images”: explaining our terminology

The Department of Internal Affairs has made the decision to no longer use the words “pornography” or “porn” when it describes the images on which most of its prosecutions are based. This avoids the risk of confusing the abuse of children with images of consensual adult sexual activity.

Most of the Department’s action is against electronic movies and pictures of children being raped, abused or violently assaulted. It uses the phrase “child sex abuse images” to more accurately describe these images.

Where the images are of children in sexual poses or involved in sexual acts, the Department uses the phrase “sexual images of children”. However, it is important to always keep in mind that children being sexually posed, or made to take part in sex acts, are being abused and exploited by those very actions, their images may be on the Internet forever, and the images promote the exploitation of more children.

The Department never uses the phrase “kiddy porn”. Most people working in prevention of sexual abuse, and those who work with its victims, find the term offensive. It is a mocking phrase that minimises rape, assault and exploitation of children.

The Department acknowledges the right of writers and editors to set their own style and standards. While the final decision on what words to use is their responsibility, the Department asks that the points made in this note be considered when our statements are used.

Media contact:

Keith Manch
Director Gaming and Censorship Regulation Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 445 6420

Vincent Cholewa
Communications Advisor Phone 04 495 9350, Cellular 027 272 4270