Claire Perry promotes anti-porn petition as shock report reveals massive child abuse

Written by Gerald Isaaman on .

Claire Perry, Marlborough's MPClaire Perry, Marlborough's MPTory MP Claire Perry, who has led the campaign for curbs to protect children from internet pornography, is redoubling her efforts in the wake of a shock report to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

The Committee has itself announced its own inquiry in the wake of evidence from Sue Berelowitz, the Deputy Children’s Commissioner, revealing the massive impact access to porn is currently having on children in all communities across the country.

She told the committee that her two-year survey of the problem had shown that that girls as young as 11 were expected to have to perform sex acts on rows of boys for up to two hours at a time in parts of London.

And she added: "As one police officer who was the lead in a very big investigation in a very lovely, leafy, rural part of the country said to me: 'there isn't a town, village or hamlet in which children are not being sexually exploited."

"The evidence that has come to the fore during the course of my inquiry is that that, unfortunately, appears to be the case.  We should start from the assumption that children are being sexually exploited right the way across the country."

"In urban, rural and metropolitan areas, I have hard evidence of children being sexually exploited.  That is part of what is going on in some parts of our country.  It is very sadistic, it is very violent it is very ugly."

Mrs Perry, mother of three children whose Devizes constituency takes in Marlborough, told Marlborough News Online: “A petition is currently underway plus another meeting with No 10.  Now is the time for real action not just headline grabbing in my view.”

The petition calling for an opt-in solution that is being organised by Premier Christian Media and Safermedia who have been running a campaign parallel to Claire’s called Safety Net (www.safetynet.org.uk).  

Safermedia have been the charity who have worked with Claire since the beginning and Premier was the sponsor of the report.

“Their aim is to reach 100,000 signatures and I believe they are very close to reaching their target --reaching some 96,000 signatories last week,” added Claire.

“As for the consultation, a review process is underway being led by people at No 10 and the Department of Culture Media and Sport but they have yet to finalise all the details of the consultation.”

She hit the headlines last year by chairing a cross-party parliamentary inquiry by 60 MPs into the way the major internet providers have rejected all attempts for them to introduce filters and blocking devices parents can use on their children’s computers.

They have been accused of refusing to act across the board  because of the vast sums of money they earn by propagating pornography on the internet.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Select Committee, said he had been shocked to discover, following the recent sex exploitation case in Rochdale, that the number of child victims now actually ran into thousands.

“This is clearly not a case just relating to one northern town, but a national issues that requires thorough investigation,” he declared. “The serious questions raised require immediate answers.”

“We will, therefore, extend the tie we have allocated to this issue and widen our inquiry so we can deal with the causes – and solutions as a matter of urgency.”

Although Mrs Perry has pressed No 10 to take action, all that has happened so far is a consultation with internet service providers, though Talk Talk has now decided to offer all its four million subscribers a blanket opt-out filter to protect children.

Mrs Perry’s inquiry discovered that 73 per cent of UK households now have access to the internet while 52 per cent of children say they use the internet alone in their bedrooms, thus making it difficult for parents to monitor effectively what they log on to.

“Eleven per cent of children in the UK have seen sexual content on websites and 2 per cent have seen sexual content online or offline,” Mrs Perry reported.

“Further small-scale studies have found that almost a third of 14-16-year-olds first looked at sexual images online when they were aged 10 or younger while 81 per cent of children in the same age group look at online porn at home.”

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