Leading Child Abuse Solicitors, Jordans, today welcome the news that Prime Minister David Cameron is implementing and supporting measures to combat online child pornography.
Following Mr Cameron’s recent speech on this issue, Christine Sands, Deputy Managing Partner of Jordans Solicitors and Head of Personal Injury and the Abuse Claims Department stated, “The fact that the Prime Minister now sees this as a vital issue is welcome news. Jordans have represented hundreds of victims of childhood sexual abuse, and the long term psychological damage which is caused to these victims is, in many cases, severe and irreparable.
“It has been shown that in many instances, abusers will look at illegal images such as those that can be accessed online, and then carry out those actions themselves. Any steps that can be taken to first restrict access to these images, and secondly to stamp out all forms of child abuse, will be wholeheartedly supported by this firm.”
Mr Cameron has expressed his concern to major internet services providers (ISPs), and has called for “horrific” internet search terms to be “blacklisted”, on search engines such as Google and Bing.
The main measure to be implemented would be for family-friendly filters to be automatically selected for all new customers by the end of the year, meaning that access to any form of adult material would automatically be filtered off – although users could choose to switch these filters off.
Existing computer users would be contacted by their ISPs and told they must decide whether to use or not use “family-friendly filters” to restrict adult material. Customers who do not accept or decline will be deemed to have accepted and have the filters activated by default,
The UK’s biggest ISPs, who cover approximately 95% of homes with access to the internet have agreed to this scheme.
Other measures announced by Mr Cameron included:
– New laws so videos streamed online in the UK will be subject to the same restrictions as those sold in shops
– Search engines having until October to introduce further measures to block illegal content
– Experts from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre being given more powers to examine secretive file-sharing networks
– A secure database of banned child pornography images gathered by police across the country will be used to trace illegal content and the paedophiles viewing it
Mr Cameron has stated that these changes must be implemented because of “the impact it is having on the innocence of our children, how online pornography is corroding childhood…And how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out…The time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”
Claire Perry, MP, and Mr Cameron’s adviser on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, argued that these filters would make a difference, saying that the killers of schoolgirls April Jones and Tia Sharp had accessed legal pornography before moving on to illegal images of child abuse.
She added: “It’s impossible to buy this material in a sex shop… but it’s possible to have it served up on a computer every day.”
Mr Cameron added, “Let me be clear to any offender who might think otherwise: there is no such thing as a safe place on the internet to access child abuse material,” he said.
In another welcome move, Mr Cameron said possession of online pornography depicting rape would be made illegal. Current legislation only criminalises the publication of pornographic portrayals of rape, as opposed to possession.
He stated, “Possession of such material is already an offence in Scotland but because of a loophole in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, it is not an offence south of the border,” Mr Cameron said.
“Well I can tell you today we are changing that. We are closing the loophole – making it a criminal offence to possess internet pornography that depicts rape.”