Are child-like sex dolls illegal?

The Crown Prosecution Service has issued new guidance to prosecutors as to which offences may be committed regarding “child-like” sex dolls after more than 200 seizures by Customs Officers in the last two years.

The potential offences are:

1) Importing obscene articles.

2) Publishing an article for gain or not, or having an article for publication for gain, which is obscene.

3) Sending an obscene article by post.

Is it illegal to own or make a child-like sex doll?

No, there is no crime of making or possessing a childlike sex doll, it is the importation or sending that triggers a potential offence.

What does childlike mean?

There is no definitive guide to what “childlike” means but size, characteristics and description will all be considered – this goes to the issue of obscenity.

This is one of the most troublesome legal issues, as it will ultimately be a matter for a Judge or Jury to decide if the issue isn’t clear cut.

Does the doll have to be made for sex?

Yes, the doll must have been made for sexual use (as again, this gives rise to the obscenity issue). When deciding whether this is the case its design, accessories and advertised purpose will all be relevant.

What else has to be proved?

That depends which of the offences you are charged with. If it’s importing, it has to be proven that you knew it was unlawful to import them. If it’s one of possessing it for publication for gain, the prosecution will have to prove there would be some gain to be made.

How long could the prison sentence be?

That, again, depends on the charge. Importation offences have a maximum of seven years, publishing obscene articles carries a maximum of five years, and the postal offence a maximum of one year.

How we can assist

For full advice about these or any other offences, please get in touch with any member of our vastly experienced Criminal Defence team, for assistance with any criminal law related matter.

Mr John Stokes (,
Mr Anthony Pearce (,
Ms Sarah Turland (,
Mr Daniel Woodman ( or
Mr Lorne Wilkinson (

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