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Luke Howarth MP: The risk to children posed by easy access to online violent sexually explicit material

Luke Howarth - Federation Chamber - May 22, 2017

How is the Australian Government failing to protect children from online porn?

Liz Walker, Chair of Porn Harms Kids in Australia, speaks with Lyrella Cochrane from ABC Radio Darwin and the Northern Territory. We discuss what happens when children see hardcore online pornography, why it's a public health crisis, and how the Australian Government is failing to protect children from harms they openly acknowledge.

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Crossing borders – pornography’s mode of travel

If someone tries to bring a suitcase of Refused Classification (RC) DVDs through customs, they will be refused entry. Relating to sex, RC films: depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults. The RC definition also refers to Child Exploitation Material (CEM), or any films that promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence. With this in mind, if you plan on visiting your Federal MP to ask what they are doing to uphold their due diligence obligation towards children, we advise that you go armed with some pressing questions

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Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation

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The problem of sexual exploitation is enormous.
But at the same time, new opportunities to take back ground are emerging as societies around the globe recognise that what is needed to beat this insidious form of exploitation is a proactive, co-ordinated, multi-agency approach.
Now, more than ever, the growing movement to end sexual exploitation needs to work together to establish a new norm – a world free of all forms of exploitation.
The Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation on May 5-6 2017 brought together leaders from this movement, along with special guest speakers to equip, encourage and inspire. 
Liz Walker, chair of Porn Harms Kids, presented at the summit and her presentation is below. Liz speaks about the history and strategy of Porn Harms Kids, and how important your involvement is for the wellbeing of children.

 

We must take a public health approach to tackle porn culture

A public health lens informs the activities of the 3-pronged PREVENT – EQUIP – RESTORE approach taken by Porn Harms Kids. Given the extensive data available on the harms of pornography on children and young people – particularly related to the rise in mental health issues and preventable diseases such as Sexually Transmitted Infections, work must commence with prevention.

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Breaking news! Age-verification for porn sites to be implemented in the UK

After months of deliberation, Child Protection advocates are celebrating in the United Kingdom with new changes adopted into legislation. The UK have been taking active steps to protect children from online pornography harms, and at  3.15.p.m. on April 27, the Digital Economy Bill 2016-2017 was approved. The legislation creates civil penalties for online pornographers who do not verify the age of their customers, and ISP level blocking of non-compliant sites.

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Graphic hardcore images are an uncomfortable reality

In February 2016, I had the privilege of opening the Pornography and Harms to Children and Young People Symposium. The largest gathering of its kind in the southern hemisphere with the aim to spark a national conversation about the public health crisis caused by porn harms to children across Australia. I opened with this quote from the The Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls Report (2015):

The growing ubiquity of mobile devices means those targeted or indirectly implicated are getting younger and younger — with children as young as 5 or 6 years of age now exposed to cyberbullying and online pornography — sometimes of the most extreme kind. In some contexts online culture represents the worst form of gang violence.

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This is fact. Reality. This is the age our young people live in. And in every presentation I deliver, I start by saying that I make no apologies for offending anyone with what they see or hear, because the porn industry makes no apologies to our children. (These words are a ‘warning’ for what is contained in the rest of this news update.)

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How governments worldwide are framing pornography as a public health crisis

Governments worldwide are framing pornography as a public health crisis. Porn Harms Kids has been investigating approaches adopted in other countries. The UK has implemented some fantastic measures to keep kids safe online, and other countries are positioning themselves to take a stand. 

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Hot off the press | Time to act!

Now, more than ever, we need your support to let the government know that more needs to be done to address children and young people being exposed to pornography. 

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How the UK is protecting kids from harmful pornographic content

Countries are only just working out how to address the impacts of pornography, hence very few countries outside the UK have a track record. There are massive obstacles to address the issue of pornography access, but given there are clear links between sexual violence and pornography, this issue cannot be ignored. It’s encouraging to see global taskforces such as Porn Harms Kids, forming and working together with Governments, ISPs, Stakeholders and the industry itself, to identify the best possible means of curbing the harms resulting from pornography.

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I pledge to stand for…

  • A world where children can grow up without being psychologically harmed by accessing graphic, violent pornography online
  • Prevention of children’s access, given that porn is linked to increased risks of STIs and other harmful physical and relational outcomes
  • Higher standards for ISPs, tech and porn companies to implement technology-related child protection buffers to block harmful pornographic content
  • Adults, including the Australian Government, to exercise due diligence to protect children

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