Paedophiles can find it all online – except help to stop

To cut offences like Chris Langham’s, we should treat sexual abuse as a public health issue and discuss it without tabooLast night, the actor, writer and registered sex offender Chris Langham continued his rather dubious campaign of public rehabilitation with an appearance on More4’s Shrink Rap, a series where celebrities engage in on-camera analysis. The award-winning star of BBC’s political comedy The Thick of It discussed his conviction and imprisonment last year for downloading indecent images of children. He detailed unresolved feelings about his own boyhood sexual abuse, which he also spoke of at his trial, and his desire to “ventilate” the taboo via his comedy writing.Langham’s internet activity was investigated under Operation Ore, Britain’s longest-running crackdown on web-sourced child pornography. But in many ways his case is atypical. The attendant publicity gave a human and, some would argue, sympathetic face to an impulse that the majority find incomprehensible. Langham did not fit the popular profile of a paedophile. And few have recourse to his defence – the confrontation of past trauma, the writer’s responsibility to research.It does not, however, answer questions about this specific area of offending: the viewing of indecent images where there is no evidence of hands-on abuse. What is the correlation between looking and doing? What role should the state take in policing private fantasies? Where does complicity in actual abuse begin and end, particularly when the images viewed are pseudo or artificial?,,2241395,00.html,,2241243,00.html

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