The Australian state of Queensland could be the country’s first to follow the lead of U.S. red states Tennessee and Florida in banning dolls that the government doesn’t approve of—but its justification for this ban has been debunked.
Queensland has included the doll ban among a set of reforms that respond to recommendations made by Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. But the Royal Commission didn’t recommend a doll ban—because there is no evidence that it is needed, or would do anything to reduce sexual abuse.
The government relies on a report from the Australian Institute of Criminology, claiming that the report finds that dolls “may lead to an escalation in child sex offences as they potentially bridge the gap between fantasy and reality and may normalise paedophilic behaviour.”
But the report doesn’t find that at all—because multiple experts agree that no evidence to support that assumption exists. The research hasn’t been done. In fact, the experts that we work with hypothesize that least for some people, dolls might be used in substitution for sex with a real partner. If younger-looking dolls are banned, these experts fear that this may lead to increase in the abuse of real children.
Worse, the Queensland doll ban goes further than the equivalent bans in Tennessee or Florida because it would make it illegal not merely to import a doll that doesn’t match the government’s specifications, but would even make it illegal to be in possession of such a doll or parts to construct one. There is a grave risk of such an over-broad law being used to harm innocent people.
Prostasia Foundation is raising funds for research to find out whether fantasy outlets such as sex dolls actually increase the risk of child sexual abuse or not. It is utterly irresponsible for the government to ban these items before that research has been done.
Simply being disgusted by the idea of a doll being used in a sexual fantasy isn’t a good enough reason to make private sexual behavior criminal. Write to the Queensland government to say so.