Thursday, 13 June 2013

A great week for child protection

These are exciting times!

The fight for meaningful protection for children from online pornography is not yet over but this week has been a milestone in the journey towards our goal.

On Tuesday morning a meeting of MPs heard from Professor Gail Dines about the reality of the pornographic material available online, the practices of the porn industry and the effect it is having on those who consume it.

On Tuesday afternoon a symposium organised by the Sunday Times and the Policy Exchange considered the impact of pornography on children and the best way to protect them moving forward.

I was delighted to be present and to see that the event was packed with a disparate audience which included campaigners, academics, clinicians, journalists, therapists, technical experts and charity workers.  The overwhelming feeling in the room was that something must be done to protect children and it must be done now.

Tomorrow, Friday, I will be attending The Westminster Media forum - an event attended by politicians, media policy makers and academics.  Once again the subject under discussion is what the next steps to protect children online should be.

This event will be followed by a ‘Council of War’ on Monday 17th.  The Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, has summoned web giants - including Google, BT and Facebook – to a meeting where they will be expected to come up with plans to do more to stop access to harmful material on the internet.

Protecting children online is an issue which is not going to go away. 

At Tuesday’s event the delegates heard that:

  • The most popular, and fastest growing, online search category is for ‘teen porn’.  This means images of girls who are, or who appear to be, under the age of 18; the kind of material which was recently implicated during the trials of the murderers of April Jones and Tia Sharpe.

  • In a recent survey conducted by the Portman Clinic 25% of young men aged 18-24 reported that they were worried about the amount of internet porn that they were consuming and the effect it was having on them.

  • Thousands of people in this country are regularly looking at pornographic images of child sexual abuse online.  More people than the police can realistically arrest.

We cannot ignore facts like these.  To paraphrase Diane Abbott speaking at the Sunday Times event: this a public health issue, a chance to stop the aggressive sexualisation of young people and to defend their human rights.

Thank you for your support on this issue which has been an important contributor to the climate which has enabled this to happen. 

We have some way to go but there are things that you can do now:

We are still waiting for a date for the 2nd Reading of Baroness Howe’s Online Safety Bill which has been introduced to reduce children and young people’s access to inappropriate and potentially harmful online material.

If you have not yet done so, may I urge you contact a member of the House of Lords and ask them to support the Bill and push for an early 2nd Reading.  You can do this quickly and easily using our campaign website  The site also includes links to useful information on how to go about protecting your children and grandchildren online which I hope you will also find helpful.

Vivienne Pattison


  1. Yes these are exciting times . But only because its been very funny to hear the numerous pro censorship arguments trotted out by you lot that are unproven hearsay based on nothing but your own ideologies . Don't you people get it yet ? In the 50's and 60's it was Hammer films , in the 70's it was porn , in the 80's it was video nasties and so on . Legislation tried to hide all these but legislation made no difference whatsoever . And trying to hide behind the argument that it's all about protecting children is as low as it gets. The idea that people like you think they can stop children from finding things on the internet they're not supposed to see is actually alarming in its level of stupidity. Young children can be protected by filters but PC savvy older children will find a way and you won't be able to stop them except in your dreamlike utopia that will never happen.
    As for your stories- the "teen porn" thing is nonsense . Do you really think that had offenders not gained access to this material that they would have committed no crimes ? And for the 2 that do committ crimes there are millions who will view such content without committing crimes . And I expect the blinkered people you represent are completely clueless about the concept that giving airtime and publicity to offending and even illegal material makes it's availability more well known to those with such an interest who would never even have considered looking for it before those like you made its presence known to people of all ages. Get a grip and learn from history .

  2. The last poster has a point. When there is talk of anything "Pro-Censorship" It's always the so-called Upper Classes who make these wild claims, distorted facts and other half-truths which fuel the populist Right-Wing press who always call for state censorship. Also to them it's always the working classes who they often despise. And make again. Very wild claims that stopping Consenting Adults doing what other Adults do to each other will somehow "Protect Children"

    Lastly, what concerns me greatly is that People and organisations such as yourself who want to impose limits to the Civil Liberties on Tax Paying, Voting Adults is the more I say "Sinister" issue that you are either representing or actually from an Ultra Conservative Christian Organisation. Who's desire to block Illegal Child Porn won't stop there, They could even block Blogs,Free Speech & Petitions that they do not agree with, Worse stilladvice about LGBT issues could be banned too!