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CARE welcomes 'long overdue' inquiry into links between porn and sexual violence

Online Safety
3 November 2021
Everard protest

Press release: 03/11/21

An official inquiry into the links between pornography and sexual violence has been welcomed by CARE.

Today, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Commercial Sexual Exploitation announced an official investigation into the pornography industry in response to “growing concerns that online pornography is fuelling violence against women and girls”.

The APPG noted that porn addiction has been implicated in several murders, including the recent case of Sarah Everard, and highlighted concerns about porn expressed by the national police lead for child protection and the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza.

The six-month inquiry will take evidence from a range of international experts, with MPs set to assess how the modern-day pornography industry operates, harms associated with the production and consumption of pornography, and the adequacy of existing laws.

Inquiry ‘long overdue’

Responding to the news, James Mildred, Chief Communications Officer at CARE, commented:

“The announcement of the landmark inquiry is welcome and long overdue. It follows an outpouring of concern by women and girls, campaigners, and the public at large.

“The links between extreme pornography and sexual violence are becoming clearer and clearer. Pornography has been implicated in a host of tragic cases involving the rape and murder of women in recent years. It is described as a contributing factor by those working with victims of sexual violence across the UK. And it has been named as a motivator of sexual harassment in schools.

“Politicians are right to seek evidence from a wide range of stakeholders and we call on them to consider a wide range of actions. As Dame Diana Johnson, Chair of the APPG, says ‘The intolerable level of sexual violence that is perpetrated day in day out in this country is not inevitable’. Evaluating and addressing the harms of pornography is one way to challenge this toxic culture.”

Poll highlights public concern

Last month, polling commissioned by CARE found broad public concern about the link between pornography consumption and sexual violence against women and girls.

The Savanta ComRes poll of 2,000 people found 6 in 10 UK adults agree with the statement: “I am concerned that pornography is inspiring sexual violence against women and girls.” Only 1 in 10 disagreed.

7 in 10 adults also agreed that: “The government should stop websites publishing extreme pornography that portrays violence or non-consensual sex”, with less than 1 in 10 respondents disagreeing.

Female respondents were more concerned that porn is motivating sexual violence (7 in 10) than males (5 in 10). However, both sexes strongly agreed on the need for tougher curbs on porn sites (8 in 10 and 7 in 10 respectively).

Majority back mandatory age checks

An earlier poll of UK adults found that 8 in 10 people support mandatory age checks on porn sites, to prevent access by children. The same proportion stated that the age limit should be 18 years.

Evidence of porn’s harms

CARE points to a growing body of evidence from front line workers helping victims of sexual crime, educationalists and members of the judiciary about the link between consumption of extreme pornography and sexual crime.

A summary of key evidence can be accessed here: [SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE]

ENDS

Notes for Editors

For interview requests or more information please contact Jamie Gillies: jamie.gillies@care.org.uk // 07384467819


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