CARE: Ministers should support bill to usher in pornography protections for childrenOnline Safety
Press release: 27/01/22
The UK Government should provide children with “interim” protections from pornographic content by backing private member's legislation before the House of Lords, CARE has said.
Tomorrow, a private member’s bill by DUP Peer Lord Morrow will have its second reading in the House of Lords. If supported, it would see Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 commenced by the Government.
Part 3 was agreed by Parliament in 2017 but abandoned in 2019. It would introduce age checks for commercial porn sites and see a regulator appointed to tackle “extreme” porn.
Lord Morrow wants to see the measures implemented to provide protection for children until the Online Safety Bill is finalised - which could take years.
Ross Hendry, CEO of the charity CARE, which campaigns for stronger protection for children in the online world, commented:
“Age verification was legislated for by Parliament in 2017, through Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act. This legislation was never implemented. Children have already been waiting nearly five years for protection they should have had in 2017.
The same applies to regulation of ‘extreme’ pornography, which again was approved in 2017. Children desperately need these safeguards. They cannot wait another two or three years for them and shouldn't have to – they are already on the statute book.
“We call on Ministers to support Lord Morrow’s proposal to implement Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act as an interim measure whilst its online safety plans are considered. This legislation has been approved – it’s on the shelf and ready to go."
Mr Hendry added:
“If Ministers do not want to enforce Part 3, they must explain why and provide for other statutory measures to protect children and curb extreme porn over the next two years as online safety legislation is scrutinised by parliamentarians.
“Loopholes allowing children to access pornography and sites to glorify sexual violence can and must be closed before the online safety regime is in place."
Notes for Editors:
CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives.
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