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Scientific research is necessary.

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I research the criminalisation of image-based sexual abuse at the University of Oxford, where I am at Keble College. In order to make effective criminalisation easier for legislators worldwide, this research will include:

  • What are the wrongs of the separate types of image-based sexual abuse?
  • How do the separate types of image-based sexual abuse need to be addressed in legislation?
  • What needs to be done to protect minors from child pornography whilst still securing their right to privacy and a personal life?

Criminalising image-based sexual abuse is easier said than done. More than one reason can be identified:

  • Image-based sexual abuse is not a single phenomenon, but rather consists of separate types, such as revenge pornography, non-voluntary pornography and edited portrayals.
  • Victims are blamed if they consented to images being made. This comes from a misunderstanding regarding the process in which image-based sexual abuse is realised: not the taking of pictures led to image-based sexual abuse, but the act of publication by the perpetrator.
  • Legislators put too little effort in understanding the separate types of image-based sexual abuse.
  • By treating all types of image-based sexual abuse the same, some types are left not criminalised, for instance when the attention of the legislator is on the consent of the victim regarding the making of private images.

The aim of this research is to:

  • Develop guidelines for legislators on the criminalisation of image-based sexual abuse.
  • Develop guidelines for judiciaries on how to deal with cases of image-based sexual abuse.
  • Expose the risk of secondary victimisation by law enforcement officials.
  • Unveil the harm inflicted on victims by the public through the viewing of image-based sexual abuse.

Read the research proposal.