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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Review of Law, Computers and Technology on 21/04/2019, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13600869.2019.1600870

    Accepted author manuscript, 486 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 21/10/20

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Child sex dolls and robots: challenging the boundaries of the child protection framework

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/04/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>International Review of Law, Computers and Technology
Issue number3
Volume33
Number of pages22
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date21/04/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Foreign-made child sex dolls are now commercially available online, and recent cases indicate that their importation is a criminal offence. However, whilst there are growing calls for criminalisation, it is unclear as to where the law stands in relation to them and their robotic counterparts. This article seeks to initiate debate by asking; could and should child sex dolls and robots be caught by the child protection framework? Considering core offences, it explores whether and where such items might fit within the current law. The argument proposed is that that whilst there may be patchy coverage no single statute provides a convincing match. Drawing analogies to legal debates on child pornography, the article considers various justifications for criminalisation. Following a harm-based perspective, it proposes new crimes under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (‘SOA’) which address the creation, distribution and possession of child sex dolls and robots where a real child is involved in their creation. Where sex dolls and robots are fantasy creations, it is argued that different considerations arise and it is difficult to justify the same range of restrictions. Accordingly, separate SOA offences are suggested with exception made for selfmade artefacts that are intended solely for private use.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Review of Law, Computers and Technology on 21/04/2019, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13600869.2019.1600870