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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: May 2010

6 - Conclusions and implications

Summary

Once the real as opposed to the surface legitimations of the societal reaction are exposed, there is a possibility of undermining them and devising policies that are both more effective and more humane.

In this concluding chapter, I stress the critical tensions and problematic constructions that my analysis has addressed, and present what I see as the reality of the societal and legal response to child pornography and sexual grooming for children. I consider how the current legal and societal reaction is likely to progress. Finally, I urge the introduction of a new approach to child pornography and grooming and, more broadly, to the way in which society and law view children.

THE REPERCUSSIONS OF THE CURRENT SOCIETAL AND LEGAL RESPONSE FOR CHILDREN

The current legal and social responses examined by this work are the result of thirty years of prioritizing the reduction of harm caused to children by child pornography and sexual abuse, and preventing harm and potential risks of harm before they occur. Thus, the intentions behind increased criminalization and the protectionist movement were laudable. However, perhaps inevitably, the way in which we perceive and respond to the problems of child pornography and grooming is influenced by a morality discourse involving juxtaposing constructions that can blur reality. Such moral narratives of disparity can only encourage a moral panic reaction and demand conformity with the symbolic universe surrounding children, child pornography and grooming that we have created.