A Global Survey of Country Efforts to Ensure Compensation for Child Pornography Victims
29 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2015 Last revised: 22 Jan 2016
Date Written: April 28, 2015
This article summarizes the results of a survey conducted of the country reports of states parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Children Prostitution and Child Pornography to determine compliance with Article 9(4), which requires that all states parties ensure victims of child pornography have access to adequate procedures to seek damages from those legally responsible. The survey showed that almost half of the parties to the Optional Protocol have not filed country reports. Of those 89 nations who filed a country report, almost all describe only general jurisprudential systems of compensation available to all crime victims in the country, with few unique compensation systems tailored specifically to the offenses identified in the Optional Protocol. This is concerning because of the unique nature of the crimes covered under the Optional Protocol, such as distribution and possession of child pornography, where an increasing body of research shows the enduring mental harm to victims, but it often is difficult for victims to prove causation and damages. The survey also revealed that an increasing number of countries are (1) integrating victim compensation with the criminal process to avoid re-traumatizing victims through a separate civil process; (2) appointing legal advocates to assist victims; and (3) setting up state-sponsored compensation systems to provide victims access to compensation, especially where damages cannot be recovered from the offender. Finally, the article identifies gaps in child pornography compensation systems and opportunities for greater compliance both by states parties and the global community.
Keywords: Child Pornography, restitution, damages, victim, internet, international children's rights
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