FIRST we need to get the terminology right — They are child abuse images or indecent images of children. It is NOT child pornography: every photograph depicts a real child being sexually abused.

Every picture is a crime scene where a real child is being abused or sexually exploited !

In the last two years nearly 35 million child abuse images have been confiscated in England and Wales.

The pictures are graded from level one – the lowest – to category five, which involves sadism, torture and rape. Many of the pictures involve children under 10 including babies

The COPINE Scale is a rating system created in Ireland and used in the United Kingdom to categorise the severity of images of child sex abuse, and thus use in the sentencing of offenders in a UK court of law.

In looking at the nature of the material the Sentencing Council has categorised such material into five levels of seriousness with level five being the most serious.

Level one: Images of erotic posing, with no sexual activity;

Level two: Non-penetrative sexual activities between children, or solo masturbation by a child;

Level three: Non-penetrative sexual activity between adults and children;

Level four: Penetrative sexual activity involving a child or children, or both children and adults;

Level five: Sadism, Torture, Rape or involving the penetration of, or by, an animal.

The age of the child is now an aggravating factor and police officers should be encouraged to ensure that images are divided not only according to the categories set out above, but also as to whether the child is under 13 years, or 13 – 15 years and 16 – 17 years old.

When dealing with cases involving thousands of images police officers have approached the CPS in order to determine at what point they can stop looking at images. It is a matter for the police to decide how many images to view. If the police decide not to view all the images that is a risk analysis only they are able to take.

There is of course always the danger that if only 1,000 images out of 500,000 are viewed that image 1001 may show the suspect abusing a child.

                               DONT BE A HOAXER AND SUPPORT CHILD ABUSE

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