Child sex dolls and robots : challenging the boundaries of the child protection framework

Chatterjee, Bela Bonita (2020) Child sex dolls and robots : challenging the boundaries of the child protection framework. International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, 34 (1). pp. 22-43. ISSN 1360-0869

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Foreign-made child sex dolls are now commercially available online, and recent cases indicate that their importation is a criminal offence. However, whilst there are growing calls for criminalisation, it is unclear as to where the law stands in relation to them and their robotic counterparts. This article seeks to initiate debate by asking; could and should child sex dolls and robots be caught by the child protection framework? Considering core offences, it explores whether and where such items might fit within the current law. The argument proposed is that that whilst there may be patchy coverage no single statute provides a convincing match. Drawing analogies to legal debates on child pornography, the article considers various justifications for criminalisation. Following a harm-based perspective, it proposes new crimes under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (‘SOA’) which address the creation, distribution and possession of child sex dolls and robots where a real child is involved in their creation. Where sex dolls and robots are fantasy creations, it is argued that different considerations arise and it is difficult to justify the same range of restrictions. Accordingly, separate SOA offences are suggested with exception made for selfmade artefacts that are intended solely for private use.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Review of Law, Computers and Technology
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Review of Law, Computers and Technology on 21/04/2019, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? child sex dollschild sex robotscriminal lawprotection of children actcoroners and justice actsexual offences actobscene publications actschild protectionlawcomputer science applications ??
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Deposited On:
26 Apr 2019 14:00
Last Modified:
07 Mar 2024 00:48