skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 201767 Find in a Library
Title: First Amendment and Child Pornography: Implications for Professionals Engaged in Child Protection
Journal: Children's Legal Rights Journal  Volume:23  Issue:1  Dated:Spring 2003  Pages:2-16
Author(s): Frank E. Vandervort J.D.
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 15
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the first amendment and relevant Supreme Court decisions regarding child pornography.
Abstract: The protection of children from sexual abuse should be a multidisciplinary effort, bringing together professionals from many fields. In fact, a requirement of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is that States assemble a multidisciplinary team to deal with cases of child maltreatment; the receipt of Federal funds for child welfare programs is dependant upon this multidisciplinary approach. As such, a review of legal opinions and mandates regarding child sexual abuse and child pornography is appropriate given that professionals outside of the legal field often work in concert with lawyers, judges, and the like. The article focuses on the recent decision in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which struck down parts of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 as unconstitutional. The legal background leading to this decision is reviewed, namely the first amendment and other Supreme Court decisions regarding child pornography. The article reviews cases regarding the Supreme Courts’ decision in 1957 which protected pornography but prohibited obscenity. However, given the greater responsibility to protect children, the Court has prohibited pornography that depicts children, without first establishing that it is obscene. After describing the legal background, the article explores the decision in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which grappled with issues involving whether the virtual depiction of children in a sexually explicit manner is prohibited by law, even if such material is not defined as obscene. In this case, certain protections are afforded individuals under the first amendment of the United States Constitution, and as such, parts of the contested 1996 CPPA were ruled unconstitutional. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of these rulings for professionals involved in the protection of children, including a discussion of how the Court rulings affect policy, prevention programs, reporting and investigation functions, and treatment. 183 Endnotes
Main Term(s): Child Pornography
Index Term(s): Child protection laws; Legal doctrines; US Supreme Court decisions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.