New GEM Poll Finds Overwhelming Public Support for Age Limits on Porn Sites

A new ICM poll released today by the Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM) at Durham University  reveals that an overwhelming majority of the public (86%) agree that pornography websites and social media companies should be legally required to prevent children from accessing online pornography.

Research Briefing on the new poll available here: gem-age-verification-briefing-final

Press release available here: age-verif-poll-press-release-19th-oct-2016-final

Poll supports need for age verification: The poll supports proposals in the Digital Economy Bill being discussed in Parliament today (Thursday) to introduce age-verification measures to ensure that anyone accessing a commercial pornography website in the UK is over the age of18.

The Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM) at Durham University welcomes the Government’s proposals to prevent children’s access to online commercial pornography due to its adverse impacts on gender inequality and young people.

Dr Fiona Vera-Gray of Durham University and GEM Co-Founder says:

“From my experience working with young people in sexual violence prevention, pornography is repeatedly implicated in restricting young women’s sexual agency, and in pressuring young men to prove their masculinity. We need a comprehensive approach that includes new laws such as current government proposals, alongside compulsory, age-appropriate, sex and relationships education focussing on issues of equality, respect and consent.”

Poll supports blocking non-compliant websites

The poll also found considerable public support (78%) for Government action to ensure that the websites of non-compliant companies are blocked.

Professor Clare McGlynn of Durham University and GEM Co-Founder says:

‘If the Government wishes to restrict children’s access to pornography, the new law must be effective. Blocking non-compliant websites is one way to strengthen the proposals. This new law will, at the very least, limit accidental exposure. It will also send an important message that pornography is not appropriate material for children.’

The Centre for Gender Equal Media is making three key recommendations to tackle the harms of pornography :

  • More effective enforcement mechanisms are required, such as blocking websites that break the law
  • Preventing children’s access to pornography is only part of the solution. Compulsory, age-appropriate sex and relationships education on issues of equality, respect and consent is vital.
  • Action on pornography is placed within the wider context of gender inequality, including inequality for young people, and violence against women and girls.

New CPS Guidelines Follow GEM Centre Recommendation

cps-social_media_consultationThe Crown Prosecution Service has issued new guidelines on prosecuting cases involving social media which no longer use the term ‘revenge porn’, following the recommendation made during the consultation by the Centre for Gender Equal Media. The GEM Centre argued that the term ‘revenge pornography’ refers only to one, albeit pernicious, form of abuse and it also unduly focuses on the perceived actions of the victim (producing ‘porn’), rather than on the perpetrator who shared images without consent.

This consultation response is based on the work I have done with Erika Rackley on image-based sexual abuse: a term that better describes the nature and harm of these forms of abuse, including what is known as ‘revenge porn’.

The response to the consultation from the Centre for Gender Equal Media is available here:


Challenging Image-Based Sexual Abuse: Plenary Lecture, Dublin Oct 2016

dublin-lecture-oct-2016-2On Friday 7th October 2016, I gave a plenary lecture at the annual conference of the Irish Association of Criminal Justice Research & Development conference. The theme of the conference was Cybercrime and my lecture welcomed the recently published Irish Law Commission report on Harmful Communications & Digital Safety. However, I challenged its claim that non-consensual sharing of private, sexual images was not a form of ‘sexual offence’. I argued that the terminology of ‘image-based sexual abuse’ better captures the nature and harms of this form of abuse: terminology matters as it shapes our legislative, political and educational responses.

For more on the concept of image-based sexual abuse: see research briefing here:

Image-based Sexual Abuse: Quick Reads

My presentation is available here:dublin-mcglynn-final-october-2016-cleanpdf

New Irish Law Reform Commission Report on Harmful Communications and Digital Safety

Professor Clare McGlynn welcomes the thorough report by the Irish Law Reform Commission on ‘Harmful Communication and Digital Safety’. The report recommends the criminalisation of so-called ‘Revenge Pornography’. In particular, Clare welcomes the Commission’s decision to recommend  the protection of the privacy of victims in court proceedings.

The Commission cite Clare’s research on anonymity for victim-survivors as evidence that protecting privacy (1) may encourage the reporting of offences and (2) help protect the victim-survivors from further harm caused by so-called ‘revenge porn’.

Clare and the Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM) have called for the automatic anonymity of victim-survivors of image-based sexual abuse (including ‘revenge porn’). Their briefing, which is cited by the Law Reform Commission, can be read here.

Read the Irish Law Reform Commission report here

Read the GEM briefing on Anonymity for Victim-Survivors of Image-Based Sexual Abuse here

Press Release: New Poll Finds 75% of Public Seeks Automatic Anonymity for ‘Revenge Porn’ Victims


The Guardian have reported that in an ICM poll, 75% of men and women questioned supported campaigners who want victims’ identities to be protected after an allegation of ‘revenge porn’ is made to police.

The poll by ICM questioned 2,048 people who were asked if victims of revenge pornography should have the same anonymity as victims of other sexual offences. Male respondents were 72% in favour while 77% of women supported anonymity; an average of 75% in support.

Read the press release by GEM in full here

Read the Guardian news article here




New Submission to commission on Conservatism and Human Rights

In this submission to the Bright Blue Commission on Conservatism and Human Rights, Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley, on behalf of The Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM), outline the importance of placing restrictions on certain offensive material to enhance the human rights of others. They make the following recommendations:BrightBlue

  1. That the protection of women and girls from all forms of violence must be a central aim of any new Bill of Rights in line with the Home Office-led Violence Against Women and Girls strategy.
  2. That mechanisms are included to ensure the human rights of all parties are effectively protected and enriched both online and off-line.
  3. That the Commission recognise that appropriate restrictions or limits on A’s rights can be human rights enhancing insofar as they protect or enhance B’s rights or freedoms that would otherwise be negatively affected by the unrestricted operation of A’s rights.

Read the full submission here:

New Briefing on Anonymity for Complainants of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

A new briefing has been published that outlines the case for anonymity when instances of Image-Based Sexual Abuse have been reported.

McGlynn argues:

1. It is in the interests of justice that victims of crime, including image-based sexual abuse, come forward to report incidents to the police and support prosecutions.

2. Image-based sexual abuse is a form of sexual offence because of the mode of perpetration, not the motive. The harm comes from the fact that it is sexual images that are shared without
consent; the images go viral because they are sexual. The abuse accompanying distribution of
images is sexualised.


You can read the full briefing here: