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We are creating a new child
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seized by the police. This will enable the police to identify known
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ability to identify and safeguard victims from the images.
The UK will host a global
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representatives of key partner governments and organisations to join
the summit, focusing on protecting the victims of online child abuse
and how we can work internationally to prevent children being exploited
I am writing on behalf of
the Secretary of State for Education to thank you for your email of
17 November about the law relating to the publication of pornographic
portrayals of rape.
Home Office, Direct communications unit, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Thank you for taking the time to write. I am sorry I cannot send a more comprehensive response but hope you find this information helpful.
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2014/0074959. If you need to respond to us, please visit: http://www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.
As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at: http://www.education.gov.uk/pcusurvey
Dear Mr Mortimer,
Many thanks for your email
about the criminalisation of pornographic
Child pornography is appalling
and under the Protection of Children Act it
However, the Government is
working with other parties to develop measures to
distribution and possession of adult pornography, on the
The Government believes there
is some evidence that viewing images depicting
Thank you once again for writing to me.
Mr David Mortimer,
Reference : T17446/14
TREAT OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE
Thank you for your e-mail of 17/11/2014 17:17:57.
The matters you have raised are the responsibility of Ministry of Justice.
We have therefore transferred
your e-mail to MoJ, who will arrange for a
The original of this email
was scanned for viruses by the Government Secure Intranet virus scanning
service supplied by Vodafone in partnership with Symantec. (CCTM Certificate
Number 2009/09/0052.) This email has been certified virus free.
Dear Mr Mortimer,
Thank you for contacting me about the criminalisation of pornography.
As a father of an eleven year old, I appreciate your concerns about child pornography in particular. I agree that child pornography is appalling and have therefore spoken with other Ministers to raise the matter directly.
I understand that under the Protection of Children Act, it is already illegal to produce, distribute or possess indecent images of children and offenders can serve sentences of up to 10 years in prison for these crimes.
Ministers advise me that they are working with other parties to develop measures to increase prosecutions and convictions for those found in breach of the law. Police forces across the country have been working together to produce a single, secure database which will enable them to work together more effectively and close the net on paedophiles. The Government is also cooperating with internet search providers to bring about additional means to restrict searches for child pornography.
The production, distribution and possession of adult pornography is not illegal. I understand that depicting extreme pornographic scenes will soon become so. The law has been extended to cover images of rape and other non-consensual sexual activity. I agree that such images are unacceptable and most people would regard them as disgusting and deeply disturbing.
I hope this information is helpful and thank you once again for taking the time to raise this issue.
Alun Cairns MP AS
Dear Ministry of Justice,
Please will you kindly confirm if the legal situation is, although it’s been a crime to publish pornographic portrayals of rape for decades, existing legislation does not cover possession of this material, at least in England and Wales. 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.
Dear Mr Mortimer
Thank you for your e-mail of 5 November addressed to Shailesh Vara about indecent images of children. Your letter has been passed to me at the Ministry of Justice as senior policy advisor with interest in the law on pornography, obscenity and sexual offences.
Firstly, I should make it absolutely clear that the Government considers that the protection of children from sexual abuse is a top priority. The laws in this area are rightly robust and clear.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 which came into effect in May 2004, significantly modernised and strengthened the laws on sexual offences in England and Wales to provide extra protection to children from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. The Act reflects what we know today about the patterns and impact of sexual abuse in childhood. It was designed to meet the 21st century challenges of protecting children, and addresses issues including internet pornography and ‘grooming’ children for sexual abuse.
I attach a link to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which I hope you will find helpful:
In your letter you ask that the possession of indecent photographs of children be made a crime. I can reassure you that our laws in this area are fully equipped to deal with the possession of such material.
The law in this area is very clear and applies whether the images are shown online or offline. Under the Protection of Children Act 1978 (as amended), the UK has an absolute prohibition on the taking, making, circulation and possession with a view to distribution of any indecent photograph of a child under 18 and these offences carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 also makes the simple possession of indecent photographs of children an offence and carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment. The term ‘indecent’ is not defined in the 1978 Act. The courts decide in each case whether the material in question is indecent or not.
In addition to this, Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 created a new criminal offence to make illegal the possession of non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse, including ‘Hentai’ cartoons and computer-generated images of child abuse with a three year maximum prison sentence.
The Government also supports the work of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which was set up in 1996 by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to enable members of the public, via a hotline, to report child pornography in a newsgroup or website. If the material is considered illegal, the Foundation passes details to the UK police to start action against the originators and asks ISPs to deny access to the sites concerned. If the originators are abroad, the IWF passes the report to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) who liaise with the enforcement agencies of the countries concerned - and successful police action has resulted, both within the United Kingdom and internationally.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre was opened in April 2006 and is the UK’s national law enforcement agency committed to tackling the sexual abuse of children in both the online and offline environments - with the principal aim of identifying, locating and safeguarding children and young people from harm.
I hope this reassures you of the strength of the criminal law in these important areas and of the Government’s ongoing commitment to protect society’s most vulnerable.
I can assure you that the Government remains committed to protecting children from sexual abuse.
Dear Mr Mortimer,
Many thanks for your recent email on David Cameron’s 2013 speech and pornography.
From reading the text of the speech, it seems as though the relevant area of issue highlighted was the possession of material depicting rape. Given that legislation already exists to prohibit the possession of child pornography, did you mean to enquire instead about developments to prohibit possession of material depicting rape?
I have copied the relevant section of the 2013 speech below.
Office of Dominic Raab MP
Member of Parliament for Esher & Walton
House of Commons, London SW1 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 5197
“The legal situation is, although it’s been a crime to publish pornographic portrayals of rape for decades, existing legislation does not cover possession of this material, at least in England and Wales. 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. But 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.”
Yes I would!
Andrew Rosindell M.P.
Dear Mr Mortimer
Thank you for your email - I do as ever have to point you in the direction of your own MP Mark Lancaster.
However I would wholeheartedly support making the possession of child pornography a crime.
Caroline Nokes MP
Lindsay Roy MP CBE