Urgent action now needed to stem a porn-driven tide of abuse, poor health and family violence

Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Andrew Wallace today welcomed the Government’s response to the Committee’s Inquiry into age verification for online pornography and wagering but called for urgent action on the Committee’s recommendations to end the harms caused by childhood exposure to porn.

“Getting this done now is important, not just because we care about our boys, but because we care about the women they will one day meet.” Mr Wallace said.

“Our Committee found that children as young as eight are inadvertently exposed to hard-core, violent pornography whilst surfing the internet. According to parents, teachers and the young people themselves, this has led to significant emotional, psychological, and later on in life, sexual health repercussions. Young women are being subjected to sexual abuse by those who are trying to emulate what is being portrayed by the porn industry as normal. This needs to end yesterday.” 

The Government’s response to the Protecting the Age of Innocence report, tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, accepted the Committee’s recommendation to direct the eSafety Commissioner to expeditiously develop a roadmap for the implementation of mandatory age verification for online pornography. In total the Government accepted in whole or in principle five of the six recommendations.

“I welcome the Government’s response to the Protecting the Age of Innocence report, but we need urgent action on implementation right away. The hard work needs to begin right now.” he said.

Mr Wallace drew the increasingly understood link between the issues of childhood exposure to pornography and rising domestic and family violence.

“Having chaired inquiries into both of these issues, what’s painfully clear to me now is that the prevalence of family, domestic and sexual violence is being exacerbated by the explosion of hard-core violent porn, particularly as it is being accessed by young people.”

“Some of these young men who are experimenting and exploring their own sexuality will live out those experiences viewed online, to the extreme detriment of their partner. Is it any wonder that we are seeing such concerning levels of violence in our homes across Australia? If we genuinely care about women being exposed to violence, then we have to start caring about our young people being exposed to pornography.” he said.

The Protecting the Age of Innocence report can be found at https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Social_Policy_and_Legal_Affairs/Onlineageverification/Report.

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