Rape porn Bill introduced to Parliament (England, Wales and NI)
(Consenting Adult Action Network)
Please distribute this notice as widely as possible
On 5 February the government introduced a Bill to Parliament that will extend S63(7) CJIA 2008 to cover the possession of pornography that depicts rape. Unless the proposed legislation is dropped or amended it may have greater implications for the general
public than the first four categories that were originally criminalised. This is because material that depicts rape can be difficult to define. It is believed that it was for this reason that the offence was not included after the original public consultation
However, in 2010 the Scottish Parliament introduced its own possession offence legislation (S42 CJ&L(S)A 2010) which included a category that depicts rape. In the light of this, and recent demands from many feminist and religious
groups, that material that depicts rape be made an offence to possess, the government has brought forward new legislation.
Many CAAN members will be appalled that there really does exist some material that features real rape being committed and this is occasionally shared by exceptionally nasty people. But the publication and sharing of such material
is already a criminal offence. Many of us have no sympathy for those who possess extremely brutal and callous depictions of rape, even those where models have consented to appear as victims , but the current legislation is sloppy, it is poorly
drafted and will impact upon relatively soft bondage and domination themed material. The legislation will also include anything that involves penetration with any object. So, if you were to possess an image of a submissive man, gagged, in bondage, with
a butt plug being inserted, how could you prove that this was not rape? It could well be the case that the lucky man involved is having the best day of his life, but his facial expression might be interpreted by police as pain and the gag as proof that
there was no consent to the act.
Nearly a third of the UK population (British Sexual Fantasy Research Project: 2007), fantasise about types of forced sex, often involving bondage, gags and invariably a dark dungeon. There is a huge amount of porn that caters for
this demand, but anything without a BBFC certificate will be very dangerous to view/possess.
CAAN is doing everything we can to secure a sensible amendment to the legislation to protect those into bondage, submission and/or domination. We are also keen to protect people from prosecution for possession of material that features
consensual non-consent but we fear this will be difficult. To understand more about the theme of consensual non-consent please read this
Working with the 4 other campaigns (Backlash, Campaign Against Censorship, Sex & Censorship and the Sexual Freedom Coalition) we have warned MPs and peers of the dangers of this legislation, explaining the potential for thousands
of harmless people to have their lives destroyed. The government has pointed to the experience in Scotland and notes that it is believed there has only been one conviction for possession of material that depicts rape. However the government also predicted
that S63(7) CJIA 2008 would only result in a handful of convictions but the reality was very different, with over 1,000 people charged with offences per annum. In the year 2012/13 1,348 people were charged under S63(7) for possession of the
first four categories of extreme porn. By criminalising possession of rape material, a category which will include some sexually explicit bondage and entirely consensual material, a category that will include material in which millions of people
have an interest, it is likely that prosecutions will soar.
Let there be no doubt that we are in engaged in war on two fronts. The state is determined to seize control over the internet and is equally determined to marginalise the lives of those who are into even the mildest forms of BDSM.
Evidence is also mounting that police investigations and prosecutions are disproportionately being directed at the LGBT community. As a consequence we fear that the new legislation poses a serious threat to minority groups and have adopted the stance
that if anything depicts a real rape, where there is no consent, that cannot be tolerated; but anything that is consensual should not be criminalised. Finding a watertight definition or dividing line between the various different categories of material
that exist is impossible and so we oppose the creation of this new category.
Please write to your MP and explain why this is an exceptionally dangerous piece of legislation. Please also write to members of the House of Lords. This step is also important because we believe it is more likely that this part
of the legislation is more likely to be scrutinised in the Lords than in the Commons.
If you have any other suggestions or can offer any assistance please get in touch: email@example.com
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill (HC Bill 169) was introduced to Parliament on 5 February. Here is a
Extension of Dangerous Pictures Act passes 2nd Reading in the House of Commons
See Parliamentary transcript
Criminal Justice and Courts Bill
2nd Reading Debate. 24th February 2014
The extension of the Dangerous Pictures Act to cover simulated depictions of non consensual sex passed 2nd reading with little debate, just MPs queuing up to say a few lines to welcome the new law:
Chris Grayling (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice ; Epsom and Ewell, Conservative):
The final provisions in part 1 deliver on a commitment that is important to me and the Prime Minister. The Bill will make it a criminal offence to possess pornography that depicts real or simulated rape. I am sure that both Houses
will share my view that such images are wholly unacceptable and that it is right to close this gap in the law.
Sadiq Khan (Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice; Tooting, Labour)
We welcome clause 16, which bans the possession of extreme pornographic images depicting rape. A number of victim groups and experts have called for that change, and the Government and the Justice Secretary should be commended
for listening to the evidence.
Elfyn Llwyd (PC Westminster Leader; Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Plaid Cymru)
My final point on part 1 concerns the new offence introduced in clause 16 that criminalises the possession of pornographic materials depicting rape and non-consensual sexual penetration. I truly applaud the Government's efforts
in this regard to minimise the use and dissemination of extreme pornographic materials, and particularly the work they are doing to minimise the opportunities for children to come into contact with this filth. In my view, however, there can be no benefit
to society or to the individuals involved if persons convicted of sex offences are left languishing in prison without treatment or, worse, released into the community
Bob Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst, Conservative)
I welcome the changes in relation to rape. Pornographic depiction of rape does seem an obvious matter to deal with---Rape Crisis South London in my constituency has done a lot of work on it---and I am glad that that has been recognised.
I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing Central and Acton would agree with me that there may still be gaps in the adequacy of sentencing for other sexual offences, particularly in relation to videos and DVDs of various kinds---we might be
able to look at that in due course---but the change is a valuable step forward that we should all welcome.
Andy Slaughter (Shadow Minister (Justice); Hammersmith, Labour)
We support the ban on the possession of extreme pornographic images depicting rape and other non-consensual sexual penetration. That is a welcome victory for campaign groups such as Rape Crisis South London and the End Violence
Against Women Coalition.
Victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act didn't realise that both extreme porn and humour are now illegal in Britain
A student has become the latest victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act.
Plymouth Crown Court heard that he found that sexual images involving people and animals were amusing and that he did not realise that humour was now illegal in Britain, particularly that featuring bestiality.
A judge preached to him that it was absolutely disgraceful to look at the computer images.
Andrew Maitland, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police found 134 images on his laptop computer: He considered them a sin against his Christian religion but he did not realise they were illegal.
The student was on the second year of a four-year business studies and logistics course. He added he had been sponsored by the Nigerian government, which had provided the computer. The laptop has now been confiscated. He had also been suspended
from the course and may not be allowed to continue. But he added that both the university and his sponsors wanted him to continue his studies.
The student has been ordered to perform 60 hours of unpaid work, has been fined £ 150, and had his computer seized
Campaigners write to MPs and Lords to raise concerns over extending the Dangerous Pictures Act to include depictions of rape
This week, the following letter was sent to a number of MPs and Lords, to raise concerns over the planned rape porn legislation.
This was sent on behalf of Sex & Censorship and an alliance of other sexual freedom campaigns: Backlash
, Consenting Adult Action Network
, Campaign Against Censorship
and the Sexual Freedom Coalition
We write to express grave concern regarding S16 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill which will extend the existing ban on extreme pornography (S63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act). This section is poorly defined.
It will have the unintended consequence of criminalising the possession of material that depicts consensual sex, bondage and power-play fantasies common to millions.
Pornography of all kinds has become much more accessible since the Internet has become available to the general public. In that time, the prevalence of sexual abuse has not increased in the United Kingdom and may have decreased.
It is simplistic & mistaken to suggest that pornography is a cause of violence against women. Correlation is not causation. Serious academic studies of pornography and sexual violence (1) show that increased availability of pornography is, in
fact, associated with less violence and abuse.
Fictional and consensual portrayals of submission and domination are a common and popular sexual fantasy, as recently illustrated by the Fifty Shades of Grey novels. Indeed one of the largest surveys ever undertaken in Britain
(2) indicated that nearly a third of us have fantasies about elements of forced sex, with approximately 2.2 million men and women having violent sexual fantasies. With around 90% of men and 60% of women viewing pornography, and with so many enjoying
fantasies of this nature, the danger is that this poorly defined legislation will have a huge impact.
The Bill's Impact Assessment suggests that the number of cases cannot be predicted. When extreme material was criminalised (by S63(7) CJIA 2008) government ministers predicted there would only be 30 cases a year, but the reality
was very different. In the last year for which the MoJ has provided data (2012/13), there were 1,348 prosecutions. Given that the number of people who enjoy material that features sexual bondage and power-play is so high, we fear government will
create thousands of new sex offenders, most of whom will be entirely harmless law-abiding citizens.
There is also a problem with government guidance for the public and prosecutors. Just prior to the enactment of S63(7) CJIA 2008, in response to reservations, the House of Lords was promised that meaningful guidance would be
issued to explain those categories that were difficult to define. This never happened. In fact prosecutors were so unsure of the meaning of the law that there have been some trials of material which we are confident Parliament never intended. For
example, the prosecution of barrister Simon Walsh, a former aide to Boris Johnson, whose legal practice had included investigating corruption within British police forces. His career in public life was ruined by a prosecution. It was rejected by
a jury after 90 minutes deliberation. Prosecutors failed to prove that images depicting consensual sex acts between him and two other gay men were extreme .
The prosecution also threatened the reputation of the Crown Prosecution Service as an impartial public servant by showing that gay men risked having their lives destroyed in court over intimate acts which were consensual, safe
and commonly practiced within the LGBT community. Bad laws do not harm only the individuals prosecuted; they also harm the institutions tasked with enforcing them, and increase even further the costs of the justice system to the taxpayer. This proposed
law will also traumatise large numbers of women and men by having their private sexual fantasies examined and shamed in public.
It is therefore vital that S16 of this Bill be refined to limit the scope of the ban to images that are produced through real harm or lack of consent. Fantasy portrayals of forced/power-play sex are too commonly enjoyed to be
reasonably subject to prohibition.
We appeal to you to refine this legislation. We also ask to be permitted to put detailed evidence to Parliament at the committee stages. Finally, we ask if you would be willing to host an event in Parliament, at which representatives
could speak, so that members of both Houses can better understand what is at stake.
1. Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review: 2009: Milton Diamond 2. British Sexual Fantasy Research Project: 2007. ISBN 978-0-713-99940-2
Even the police fall victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act
9th February 2014. See article
A number of armed policemen who were assigned to guard Downing Street are being investigated over allegations that they used their mobile
phones to exchange extreme pornography, it has emerged.
Three officers were from the diplomatic protection group (SO6), a unit already in the spotlight recently as a result of the Plebgate affair that led to the resignation of cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, were arrested on 19 December, Scotland
Yard confirmed. A fourth policeman who was not arrested was interviewed on 8 January in connection with the investigation and placed on restricted duties.
The Metropolitan police said that the images identified by the investigation were of an extreme sexual nature but did not involve children and that a file had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for consideration.
Searches were carried out at the home addresses of the arrested officers, who were questioned at a central London police station. One of them has been suspended from duty while two others have been placed on restricted duties.
Update: Extreme Unfairness
11th February 2013. See article
Three of the armed police officers assigned to guard Downing Street who were investigated over allegations that they used their mobile phones to exchange extreme pornography will not face criminal charges.
Three officers from the diplomatic protection group (SO6), a unit already in the spotlight recently as a result of the Plebgate affair that led to the resignation of cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, were arrested on 19 December, Scotland Yard
confirmed. A fourth officer who was not arrested was interviewed on 8 January in connection with the investigation and placed on restricted duties.
Scotland Yard said on Saturday three officers will not face charges but the CPS had yet to make a decision on the fourth officer.
Government publishes extreme porn extensions to include images depicting non-consensual sex
Comments from Jon
See Criminal Injustice and Courts Bill index page
See extreme porn extensions
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill has been published and includes a section extending the definition of extreme porn to include depictions
of non-consensual sex.
S63 CJIA 2008 will be extended to include rape material, but the definition looks to be so wide that it might include the majority of bondage related material.
This is the crucial bit: -
Clause 16 will extend CJIA 2008 S 63 (7) legislation by inserting provisions which include: -
16(2)C: after subsection (7) insert---
(7A): An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, either of the following: -
(a). an act which involves the non-consensual penetration of a person's vagina, anus or mouth by another with the other person's penis, or
(b). an act which involves the non-consensual sexual penetration of a person's vagina or anus by another with a part of the other person's body or anything else, and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that
the persons were real.
(7B): For the purposes of subsection (7A): -
(a): penetration is a continuing act from entry to withdrawal;
(b): vagina includes vulva.
16 (3): In section 66 (defence: participation in consensual acts): - a. before subsection (1) insert---
(A1): Subsection (A2) applies where in England and Wales: -
(a): 5a person (D) is charged with an offence under section 63, and
(b): the offence relates to an image that portrays an act or acts within subsection (7)(a) to (c) or (7A) of that section (but does not portray an act within subsection (7)(d) of 10that section).
(A2): It is a defence for D to prove---
(a): that D directly participated in the act or any of the acts portrayed, and
(b): that the act or acts did not involve the infliction of any non-consensual harm on any person, and
(c): if the image portrays an act within section 63(7)(c), that what is portrayed as a human corpse was not in fact a corpse, and
(d): if the image portrays an act within section 63(7A), that what is portrayed as non-consensual penetration was in fact consensual.
My reading of this is that it is for the defence to prove that that any act was consensual. If it looks non-consensual (and a large proportion of bondage material will be interpreted that way) then the person found to be in possession of such
material will have to prove that the act was in fact consensual.
The Impact Assessment
There is an impact assessment
which provides more information, but some of it is misleading (for example 1. the justification is said to be the desire to reduce violence against women and 2. an inference might be drawn from the 1 case that is believed to have been prosecuted
in Scotland). The reality is that in England thousands of people have been caught out by S63(7) and thousands more will now fall foul of the new law.
Page 7 of the IA suggests that there will be some protection but I can't see any: -
28. There are minor risks that anti-censorship groups could see this step as an infringement on private consensual sexual activities, for example staging consensual acted rape scenarios. However, we intend to provide a limited
defence to address some of these concerns. Alongside this the measure is likely to be well received across Parliament and a range of women's rights groups in particular.
29. We also intend to make available for the purposes of the images covered in the extended offence, the existing defence for participants possessing images of themselves, provided that no harm was caused to any participant,
or if harm were caused, it was harm which was and could be lawfully consented to.