Committee Chair indicates urgency in implementing age-verification for porn

Committee Chair indicates urgency in implementing age-verification for porn

Last week we welcomed the federal government’s commitment to regulate unlimited access to pornography by minors through age-verification laws.

In its response to the “Protecting the Age of Innocence” report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, the government accepted the recommendation to implement a regime of mandatory age verification for online pornographic material.

This week, the Committee’s Chair Andrew Wallace MP, published a piece in the Courier Mail about his “disturbing” experience leading the inquiry, titled “Hard-core porn explosion creating a culture of sex abuse”.

In the piece, Mr Wallace details the devastating impact porn is having on young people with the average age of first exposure being between 8 and 9 years old.

“Children as young as eight are being exposed to hard-core, violent pornography…this has led to significant emotional, psychological, and later on in life, sexual health repercussions.

“Equally upsetting was the evidence of young women who are being subjected to sexual abuse by those who are trying to emulate what is being portrayed by the porn industry as ‘normal’”, he writes.

Mr Wallace particularly emphasised the link between porn use and a rise in family, domestic and sexual violence, and expressed urgency in bringing about change in this area.

“Having chaired both these inquiries, what’s painfully clear to me now is the prevalence of FDSV is being exacerbated by the explosion of hard-core violent porn, particularly as it is being accessed by young people.

“Which is to say, if we don’t start acting on the recommendations of the first inquiry, the problems seen in the second inquiry are going to get worse.”

He writes, “If we genuinely care about women being exposed to violence, then we have to start caring about our boys and our young men being exposed to pornography.”