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Viewing kiddy porn is a crime because demand for it creates supply, Greg

By Hetty Johnston - posted Wednesday, 11 June 2003

A few hurried emails from rightfully concerned and decent folk informed me that an article written by the indignant Greg Barns titled Child abuse campaigners overstep the mark in making their case had been posted to On Line Opinion.

This debate began in January this year. Barns wrote an article, published in The Australian, expressing a view that Internet child pornography, when viewed by an individual in the privacy of their own home, involves no one other than the viewer. He claims the law in this area is censorious and argues that threats to prosecute those' who pay $2.95 to satiate their exotic desires by using child pornography websites should be offensive to all who believe that the state has no role in regulating what adults do in their own homes.

Barns can't understand why so many of his fellow Democrats, and many others in the community, objected to this point of view. He can't understand why, even though he is an aspiring Senate candidate for the Australian Democrats in Tasmania and, at the time of publishing, was the party's campaign director for the NSW State Elections, Bravehearts would object so strenuously to his views.


As a political player capable of effecting matters of law and policy in this area, his views matter and in this case they are potentially dangerous and ignorant to the cause of child protection. That's why!

Perhaps I should recap on the opposing point of view one more time for Greg.

Cyber Pedophiles and others who pay to view child pornography create a demand that causes children to be sexually assaulted.

The kiddy-porn industry is worth billions of dollars each year. Hundreds of innocent, vulnerable children are filmed while being subjected to sexual assault in order to supply the demand for this 'entertainment" by depraved, deviate, disgusting individuals who pay $2.95 for the privilege of watching this torture while in the privacy of their own homes.

Every person that pays to view child pornography is an accessory to the crime. Every person that pays to view child pornography directly creates a demand that will result in a supply. To produce the supply, more children will need to be further raped and tortured. Watching Internet child pornography can not occur in isolation of the child victims. That is why it is now, and should always be, a criminal offence.

The facts are that identifying those who buy child pornography on the web has led police to those who manufacture it. Many offenders (if not all) use child pornography both for their own pleasure and to de-sensitise targetted children. Those who pay to see children being sexually assaulted are of interest to the police for very good reasons.


Bravehearts make no apologies for adopting a zero-tolerance stance on protecting children against sexual assault. If that means campaigning against an aspiring politician who holds the beliefs expressed by Barns, then so be it. Bravehearts are comfortable with our position and we are committed to speaking loudly in the public arena to defend the rights of children.

Those who defend the rights of paedophiles and others who sympathise can find no haven in fact and so have resorted to the tactic of demonising with the language of "Salem" and "witch hunts" and such in the hope that if repeated often enough, it just might stick.

For the record, in response to some of more direct inaccuracies in Barns' article:

  • Bravehearts supports all those who defend the rights of children against sexual assault including in detention centres but we do not have the resources (as an unfunded charity) to take every issue on ourselves;
  • the rules of 'procedural fairness' apply to everyone including victims;
  • a court of law in Toowoomba - with judge and jury - did find a grave breach of 'duty of care' in the care of children had been committed by the organisation of which Peter Hollingworth was responsible.

Finally, Barns may well stand for election. If he does, we will be there.

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About the Author

Hetty Johnston is executive director of Bravehearts. She has held positions as Chair of Queensland Child Protection Week Committee and a Board Member of the National Association Prevention Child Abuse and Neglect, and is a Former Leader of the Queensland branch of the Australian Democrats.

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