(Part 2 of 3)
Children are our most precious gifts, and they are our most vulnerable victims. As adults it is our responsibility to protect our children from any form of child abuse. Every time a photo, a video and an image are viewed by a perpetrator, the innocent child is being re-victimised over and over again. Child Exploitation Material is being viewed at an alarmingly increasing rate. The viewing content is in huge demand and the level of sexual cruelty has become extremely sadistic. New forms of accessing Child Exploitation Material has taken a very frightening advancement. Perpetrators are now ‘requesting’ innocent children to be victims of specific sexual acts by webcam and Skype. Live streaming of children being sexually violated, tortured, beaten, forced to perform horrific sexual acts on adults and animals is happening as you read these words. Pre-mediated violence planned specifically for the perpetrators sadistic viewing.
Martin Lawes who was a former Takapuna Community Board chair and Justice of the Peace was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in September 2018. His crimes – dealing with children for sexual exploitation and importing and possessing pictures and videos of children being sexually abused.
Lawes used Skype to request detailed child sex acts that were both violent and cruel. Lawes typed instructions on what he wanted to watch being done to each innocent victim. His youngest victim was only three years old. Lawes only served 18 months of his sentence and was recently paroled after his first parole hearing. For nine years Lawes spent thousands of dollars on viewing, downloading, streaming and requesting multiple innocent children to be violently abused. The sentence he received is a disgrace to all the innocent, vulnerable victims harmed for his sexual gratification.
The demand for Child Exploitation Material is a horrific crime that violates, harms and abuses innocent, vulnerable victims. It is widely recognised that even after the physical and sexual abuse has come to an end, the continued distribution and circulation of child abuse images results in the ongoing victimisation and gross invasion of the privacy of the victims.
Victims of such abuse must live with the knowledge that images of their childhood abuse will continue to exist on the internet for the sexual gratification of strangers. The continued existence and distribution of such images, and the total powerlessness of the victims to prevent the continued circulation, results in serious harm and distress. It is therefore not only the initial production of Child Exploitation Material that harms the innocent victims, but also the ongoing distribution and possession of such images.
Further, the production of child abuse images is fueled by high levels of demand from internet users seeking to continually access new material, often involving younger and younger victims and escalating levels of violence.
Please know the production, possession and distribution of Child Exploitation Material is far from a victimless crime – a view held by many offenders guilty of these unforgivable crimes.
This is part 2 of a 3 part series on this topic. Please join us if you would like to receive important news & updates from us.
– Karrin Coates
Waikato Victim Advisor of SSGT
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