JUNEAU – The Alaska House Majority underscores a critical shift in the state’s approach to legislation surrounding child exploitation with the passage of House Bill 265 (HB 265). This legislation focuses on the substitution of the term “child pornography” with the more accurate expression, “child sexual abuse material.” The amendments meticulously address various aspects of multiple Alaska Statutes.

Chair of Judiciary, Representative Sarah Vance (R- Homer) states, “The proposed changes involve substituting the term ‘child pornography’ with the more accurate and comprehensive expression, ‘child sexual abuse material.’ This shift reflects a commitment to using language that better acknowledges the severity of these crimes and the harm caused.”

The amendments to the statutes cover distribution, possession, sentencing, and definitions associated with offenses involving child sexual abuse material. The revised language emphasizes a commitment to victim-centric terminology, recognizing the profound and lasting trauma experienced by survivors of child sexual abuse, and aligns Alaska with law enforcement and child advocacy groups who are using the more accurate language.

The adoption of “child sexual abuse material” in lieu of “child pornography” is not merely a semantic adjustment; it is an acknowledgment of the inadequacy of the previous terminology in capturing the non-consensual and abusive nature of the acts depicted. Language is a powerful tool, and in the fight against child exploitation, precise and victim-centric terminology is essential for raising awareness and shaping public perception.

The Alaska House Majority recognizes the need for accuracy in addressing child sexual abuse. By aligning state law with evolving international standards, the amendments emphasize the gravity of these offenses and reinforce the state’s commitment to safeguarding the well-being of victims.