Sheffield campaigners write to PM over porn laws

NEWS: News.

NEWS: News.

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Campaigners from Sheffield have written to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for an urgent change in legislation to make it illegal to download pornography depicting rape.

It has been illegal to publish pornographic ‘portrayals of rape’ in the UK since 1959, but pornographic rape material is legally available online because it is uploaded abroad and outside UK jurisdiction.

Rape Crisis London and 100 other organisations, including Dr Ruth Barley on behalf of Sheffield Hallam University, have signed the letter.

Rape Crisis campaigner Fiona Elvines said: “This is not about making a distinction between real and simulated rape and child sexual abuse, with the latter being perfectly lawful to possess as long as it is ‘fantasy’ and actors are over 18.

“Permitting the possession of depictions of sexual violence as entertainment glorifies, trivialises and normalises such abuse - at a time when government statistics estimate that 85,000 women and girls are raped each year.”

The letter urges the Prime Minister to consider reform which ensures Government work on tackling violence against women and girls is not undermined.

A Government spokeswoman 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 has invited internet providers to a summit this month.”

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