Is it “just” a harmless fantasy?: The Criminalisation of Fantasy Material


1Western Sydney University

In just five minutes, this oral presentation will delve into the criminalisation of “fantasy material” (that is, material depicting completely FICTIONAL representations of children) in a sexual context. Because we all fantasise, the law does not only impact on paedophiles and potential child molesters, but also ordinary members of the public such as you and I. It especially has an impact on those who enjoy fantasy material such as sexually explicit comics and manga that depict cute characters who appear underage. Such material has increasingly been outlawed in countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, and the United States. Traditionally, child abuse material has been defined in legal instruments as images depicting real children. However, the rhetoric of crime prevention and concerns about child sexual abuse in the 21st century have led to the expansion of the law to include material non-existing children. This has led to an international divide to whether this unduly interferes with individual freedoms.

This disturbingly alarming and entertaining presentation is based on the Author’s PhD, which involved an extensive four-year socio-legal study examining the justifications for criminalising works of the imagination. The presentation provides exclusive insight into the significant findings of the Author’s research, which have been published in her new book titled: “The Criminalisation of Fantasy Material: Law and Sexually Explicit Representations of Fictional Children”.


Dr Hadeel Al-Alosi Lecturer in Law and Criminology at Western Sydney University. LLB/Social Science (Criminology) (Hons) (UNSW), PhD (UNSW). The Author is a recent post-graduate and ECR whose research interests focus on the criminal laws relating to child abuse and domestic violence.


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