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Possessing Extreme Pornography: policing, prosecutions and the need for reform

McGlynn, Clare; Bows, Hannah

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The law criminalising the possession of extreme pornography, first enacted in 2008 and amended to include rape pornography in 2015, continues to generate considerable controversy and calls for reform. In order to inform these ongoing discussions, we undertook a study to find out information about who is being charged with extreme pornography offences and their characteristics in terms of gender, age and ethnicity, as well as data on the specific type of pornography forming the subject matter of those charges. Utilising freedom of information requests, our study provides valuable new information to help inform debates over the policing of extreme pornography across England and Wales. Overall, we found that the vast majority of those charged were white men across all age groups; that bestiality images formed the most common basis for charging and that, in respect of the data provided, the majority of charges were brought together with other sexual offences.


McGlynn, C., & Bows, H. (2019). Possessing Extreme Pornography: policing, prosecutions and the need for reform. Journal of Criminal Law, 83(6), 473-488.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Sep 25, 2019
Publication Date Dec 1, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 21, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 2, 2019
Journal Journal of Criminal Law
Print ISSN 0022-0183
Electronic ISSN 1740-5580
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 83
Issue 6
Pages 473-488


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (377 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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