Cartoons and drawings depicting paedophilia do not encourage people to commit child sex offences in real life, a report by experts who treat sexual problems concludes.
The report, carried out by Sexologisk Klinik, which is a part of Rigshospitalet, was ordered by the former justice minister, Lars Barfod (Konservative), after the Socialdemokraterne, then in opposition, demanded a ban on drawings and animations of children being sexually abused.
At the time, the current social affairs minister, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), argued that drawn representations of paedophilia could act as a stepping stone to actual child abuse.
“People with paedophile tendencies get drawn into this visual universe and after some time lose the satisfaction with just looking at the pictures,” Hækkerup said, according to Information newspaper. “They will want to try it.”
The subsequent Sexologisk Klinik report could not support Hækkerup’s claims, however.
“We have had to acknowledge that there is no evidence that the use of fictive images of sexual assaults on children alone can lead people to conduct sexual assaults on children,” the report to the Justice Ministry states.
Jacob Mchangama, director of legal affairs at the liberal think tank Cepos, welcomed the verdict.
“It’s gratifying that we now have documentation that as far as we are aware there is no connection between animated child pornography and actual crimes, meaning there is no need to further criminalise this area,” Mchangama told Information. “The whole affair is a classic example of something catching the eye of a politician who finds a need to symbolically change the law without actually looking at the facts.”
Flemming Møller Mortensen, the Socialdemokraterne culture spokesperson, also welcomed the report.
“It is good that the Sexologisk Klinik has looked into this,” Møller told Information. “As long as it cannot be proven that these drawings encourage damaging behaviour then I think we ought to protect freedom of speech and artistic expression.”
Pornographic drawings of children are illegal in Sweden and Norway but not in Denmark.