Children's Minister Expresses Concerns Over Online Porn
|The deputy children’s minister has warned that free access to hardcore pornography on mobile phones is twisting children’s idea of what is normal sexual.
Sue Berelowitz told the home affairs select committee that social networking sites and the use of pornography was one of the key areas she was examining in an investigation of group and gang child sexual exploitation. Her inquiry had already revealed that such exploitation was taking place across the country in urban, rural and metropolitan areas. "It is violent, it is sadistic, it is very, very ugly," she told MPs on Tuesday.
She said she was concerned about the viewing of pornography by young people, which contributed to the problem of child sexual exploitation.
"They are watching it and then they are enacting it. Parents think they know what their child is watching … the reality is children can get anything they like on their mobile phones and they are. This is affecting children's thresholds of what they think is normal behaviour.
"Social networking sites can be a source of real problems in this area. They [the perpetrators] are sometimes filming their victims, girls are making themselves vulnerable by filming themselves …"
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Berelowitz was giving evidence to the committee which is investigating the issue of street grooming and child sexual exploitation after nine British Asian men in Rochdale were convicted for grooming and abusing vulnerable young girls. The case – along with several others in the north of England over the last three years — has provided some evidence that street grooming of young girls, often from children's homes, is disproportionately being carried out by Asian men who target white victims.
Berelowitz told the committee the issue of ethnicity was complex.
"In terms of victims, while people have exclusively here talked about white victims, I am finding that girls from all ethnic groups are victims. So girls from black and ethnic minority groups are definitely victims, and they are too often missed out. They are really not being properly identified as victims.
"There are people from all backgrounds – white, Pakistani, Afghan, traveller you name it – who are seeing chidren as easy access in terms of sexual exploitation."
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