No evidence child sex abuse dolls prevent abuse: Our response to viral video

A video posted to Twitter featuring comments from a US senator defending child sex abuse dolls has gone viral.

In the video, Kentucky state senator Karen Berg claimed that there was “conclusive” research finding access to child sex abuse dolls could prevent paedophiles sexually abusing children.

The video attracted significant negative attention, with the senator issuing a statement in response – and ultimately, voting in support of a motion to outlaw child sex abuse dolls.

So what does the research say about child sex abuse dolls? (Content warning - may be distressing for some readers.)

No empirical evidence on whether child sex abuse dolls prevent or encourage abuse

First, there is no empirical evidence on whether child sex abuse dolls prevent or encourage child sexual abuse – and it’s hard to imagine how this kind of research could be conducted in an ethical way.

There are some academic defenders of paedophiles who argue paedophilia is an unchangeable sexual orientation and refer to them as “Minor Attracted Persons” (MAPs). Some argue these men should be allowed access to virtual child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and child sex abuse dolls.

Among these, there is a paper on “child-like sex doll ownership” authored by advisor to Prostasia Foundation, a lobby group that advocates for legalisation of child sex abuse dolls and funds research into “fantasy sexual outlets” for paedophiles.


The paper dismissed research that argued child sex abuse dolls encourage the sexual objectification of children and normalise their abuse as being one-sided, and for “[failing] to acknowledge the potential for dolls playing a role in the prevention of child sexual abuse.”

The authors rejected research by the Australian Institute of Criminology which found there was no evidence child sex abuse dolls could prevent child sexual abuse, and that they could increase the risk of abuse.


Based on self-reports from paedophiles and owners of child sex abuse dolls (arguably not a reliable source, given their vested interests) the authors found no evidence that dolls could increase the likelihood of abusing a child – but also found no evidence owning a doll reduced paedophile’s risk of sexually abusing a child.

The authors argued doll owners are “equally using their dolls for sexual reasons, emotional reasons and ‘other’ reasons,” such as for hobbies, non-sexual intimacy and “photography and art”. So what exactly constitutes “photography and art” when it comes to child sex abuse dolls?

As Campaigns Manager Caitlin Roper documented in her book Sex Dolls, Robots and Woman Hating: The Case for Resistance, some men who own child sex abuse dolls use them to produce their own child sexual abuse material. This includes pornographic images and videos of their dolls, including videos of men using dolls (even infants), which they upload to paedophile forums for other users to enjoy. Some make requests for specific sex acts to be performed on child dolls.

While the authors portray child sex abuse dolls as possible child abuse prevention, by providing potential abusers a “safe sexual outlet,” only 1.2 per cent of doll owners cited preventing offending behaviour as a reason for owning a child-like doll.

Child sex abuse dolls encourage child sexual abuse

In our recent submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the sexual exploitation of Australian children, we included a report on child sex abuse dolls. 

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In our report, we rejected the claim that child sex abuse dolls prevent abuse. We noted that men found in possession of child sex abuse dolls are almost always found in possession of other child sexual abuse material – images and videos of children being raped, tortured and abused. They are already sexually offending against children – some have also been charged for covert filming or contact offending against children too. Owning a child sex abuse doll did not prevent these men from sexually offending against children.

We also highlighted cases where child sex abuse doll owners incorporated actual children, including children known to them, in their doll use.

We also exposed child sex abuse dolls being customised in the likeness of a specific child. We have previously documented sellers offering this ‘service’ on major platforms including Etsy and Made-in-China (with these products removed following our campaigns.)

Read our full submission here.

We are calling for uniform laws to criminalise child sex abuse dolls globally. Watch this space!

See also:

Not a ‘Victimless’ Crime: How Child Sex Abuse Dolls Facilitate Crimes Against Children 

“It comforts offenders in their actions”: The problem with ‘virtual’ child sexual abuse material 

WIN: Made-in-China takes more steps to block child sex abuse dolls 

Collective Shout welcomes Alibaba’s removal of child sex abuse doll listings 

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  • Caitlin Roper
    published this page in News 2024-03-03 23:48:40 +1100

You can defend their right to childhood

A world free of sexploitation is possible!

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