UK Government moves to ban violent internet porn


31 Aug 2006

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The possession of violent and extreme pornographic material will become a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison under proposed new laws announced yesterday by the UK Government.

The UK Government will legislate to make it an offence to possess pornographic images depicting scenes of extreme sexual violence and other obscene material. It remains to be seen if other European governments, including the Irish Government, will follow through with similar legislation.

The legislation includes, for example, the sort of material featuring violence that is, or appears to be, life threatening or is likely to result in serious and disabling injury.

Such material has become increasingly accessible from abroad via the internet. The new law will ensure possession of violent and extreme pornography is illegal both on and offline.

UK Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said yesterday: “Such material has no place in our society but the advent of the internet has meant that this material is more easily available and means existing controls are being bypassed — we must move to tackle this.

“By banning the possession of such material the Government is sending out a strong message that it is totally unacceptable and those who access it will be held to account.

“This is a complex issue on which we have consulted widely. Our intention to legislate in this area has the support of various organisations, including women’s and children’s groups and police forces. In addition, a petition signed by around 50,000 people objecting to extreme internet sites promoting violence against women in the name of sexual gratification was presented to Parliament.”

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and ACPO lead for this area of criminality, said: “Legislation is only truly effective if it develops step by step with technological advances. Today starts to answer that need in respect of how the internet can be used to supplement this area of criminality.

“It builds on the fundamentals of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and helps take our fight against violent and extreme pornography to where it needs to be — in tune with technology and in line with how the modern criminal mind works.”

By John Kennedy