Internet access and sexual offences against children: an analysis of crime bureau statistics from India
The association between pornography and sexual crime is controversial, with various researchers finding positive, no, or negative associations. Recent evidence suggests that there may be a specific association between child pornography, which is easily available on the Internet, and sexual offences against children.
Using methodology similar to an earlier study from India, we obtained official statistics on sexual offences against children, namely rape and procurement of minor girls, for the period 2000–2012 from the National Crime Records Bureau. We analysed the association between the rates of these crimes and Internet access, measured by the number of users per 1,00,000 people.
Even after correcting for population growth, we found significant linear associations between Internet availability and the rates of both these offences against children. However, there was no correlation between the growth rate of Internet access and the rate of increase of these crimes.
While the association between pornography and the rape of adults is still under debate, our results provide indirect evidence of a possible association between Internet availability and sexual crimes against children. Regulation of the Internet to suppress access to child pornography may prevent at least some of these crimes.
Pornography, Paraphilias, Rape.