Child sex dolls and robots: Challenging the boundaries of the child protection framework. Security Lancaster Seminar Series

Thursday 25 July 2019, 1:00pm to 2:30pm


D55, Infolab21, Lancaster, 222 - View Map

Open to

Postgraduates, Public, Staff, Undergraduates


Free to attend - registration required

Registration Info

The Seminar Series is open to all and free to attend, so please feel free to come along, join the seminar and meet with Dr Chatterjee after with tea, coffee and biscuits. Please register your interest in this seminar by registering your details on EventBrite.  Register Here:

Event Details

Join us for our July Seminar Series as we welcome Dr Bela Chatterjee, Senior Lecturer in Law at Lancaster University, as she talks about her research which focuses on challenging the boundaries of the child protection framework.

Foreign-made child sex dolls are now commercially available online, and recent cases indicate that their importation is a criminal offence. However, whilst there are growing calls for criminalisation, it is unclear as to where the law stands in relation to them and their robotic counterparts. This article seeks to initiate debate by asking; could and should child sex dolls and robots be caught by the child protection framework? Considering core offences, it explores whether and where such items might fit within the current law. The argument proposed is that that whilst there may be patchy coverage no single statute provides a convincing match. Drawing analogies to legal debates on child pornography, the article considers various justifications for criminalisation. Following a harm-based perspective, it proposes new crimes under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (‘SOA’) which address the creation, distribution and possession of child sex dolls and robots where a real child is involved in their creation. Where sex dolls and robots are fantasy creations, it is argued that different considerations arise and it is difficult to justify the same range of restrictions. Accordingly, separate SOA offences are suggested with exception made for self-made artefacts that are intended solely for private use.


Dr Bela Chatterjee is a Senior Lecturer in Law, and Director of LLB Degree and Curriculum Development. Her work interrogates interdisciplinary aspects of cyberlaw and has interests in cybercrime, international law/international humanitarian law, conflict/war, security, gender/sexuality. Her convenorship of the Law of Torts 103r from 2007 to 2014 formed the mainstay of her shortlisting to the OUP Law Teacher of the Year Awards 2013, nomination to the LawTeacher.Net Law Lecturer of the Year Awards 2013 and her institutional nomination for the HEA NTFS Scheme 2014 and 2016.Bela is on the editorial board of the Canadian Peer Reviewed Journal Frontiers of Legal Research, Gender and Womens Studies and the Dutch Journal for Women's Studies (to 2020)


Contact Details

Name Paul Bennett

Telephone number

+44 1524 595186