Insights UK pornography review: Call for Evidence

As previously reported by Wiggin, in December 2023 the UK government announced that it had commissioned a review of pornography. The Terms of Reference of the review include a review of existing legislation relating to pornography, whether the enforcement of offences relating to illegal pornography is sufficient, the prevalence and impact of pornography, viewers’ attitudes to violence against women and girls, the link between modern slavery or human trafficking and pornography, and the information and resources that can be provided to children, their parents and carers, and adults on the impact of pornography.

On 11 January 2024, the Government launched a Call for Evidence seeking input to help strengthen the evidence base surrounding each of the Review’s objectives and to inform the Review’s recommendations to Government. The Call sets out in useful detail the current laws relating to the production and distribution of offline and online adult pornography, illegal pornography and child sexual exploitation and abuse material (“CSAM”). It seeks evidence for the numbers of people watching pornography online or offline via physical media and input on the effectiveness of the existing regulatory regime including whether there should be further regulatory alignment between the rules for offline and online pornography.

However, the majority of questions seek evidence of the impact on viewers of legal and illegal pornography. For example, the Call seeks evidence on whether pornography positively or adversely affects viewers, whether there is a link between viewing pornography and attitudes towards relationships, psychological impacts or sexual behaviours, and whether viewing legal pornography can lead a person to view illegal pornography or CSAM. The Government also seeks detailed evidence in relation to the consumption and prevalence of pornography generated in AR or VR environments and AI-generated pornography.

For more information and to respond to the Call, which closes on 7 March 2024, click here.