PM urged to criminalise internet rape porn

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PM urged to criminalise internet rape porn

Warwick Ashford

As the government seeks to find a way to crackdown on internet images of child abuse, campaigners are calling for the criminalisation of possessing internet pornography depicting rape.  

More than a hundred anti-rape groups and campaigners have written to the prime minister on the issue, according to the Guardian

The campaigners argue that such material "glorifies, trivialises and normalises" the abuse of women and girls, undermining the work done by the government towards preventing sexual violence.

The call comes after the recent convictions of Mark Bridger and Stuart Hazell for murdering April Jones and Tia Sharpe respectively.

In their letter to David Cameron, the campaigners said both murderers were users of “violent and misogynistic pornography”, which US research has linked to a propensity to rape.

The possession of such material is already an offence in Scotland.

The campaigners said the government could extend the law to England and Wales by closing a loophole in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

While existing legislation makes it illegal to publish pornographic portrayals of rape, it does not cover material uploaded outside of the UK.

Clare McGlynn, an expert in rape law and policy and professor at Durham University's law school, met Ministry of Justice officials in November to press for the loophole to be closed.

However, she was told the legal change was not "appropriate or necessary".

A government spokesperson said: "Rape is an abhorrent crime and that is why this government has driven forward significant progress in tackling violence against women and girls.

“We share the public's concern about the availability of harmful content on the internet and have already taken steps to ensure there are better online filters to protect children.

“But we want to look at what more can be done and so the culture secretary [Maria Muller] has invited internet providers to a summit this month. We will look closely at the issues raised in this letter."

Miller has reportedly invited companies such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and mobile operator 3 to discuss finding ways to tackle the increase in images of child pornography and abuse.

In the letter to chief executives earlier this week, Millar said the April Jones case and other recent scandals had highlighted the "widespread public concern" at the amount of material on the internet and how easy it seems to be to access violent images, according to the Telegraph.

The government is believed to be looking for proactive ways to block all access to hardcore porn sites or at least require people to register with search engines to access such sites.

Attendees of the meeting are also expected to be asked to discuss ways of dealing with copyright theft through illegal music or file-sharing websites, the paper said.

Earlier this week, it emerged that the City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) have started contacting websites suspected of profiting from copyright theft.

Letters have been issued to two sites known to share links to pirated copies of music, movies and games.


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