The Call for Evidence for the independent Pornography Review launches today.

  • Pornography creators, law enforcement, parents and the public asked for views as government investigates impact of pornography
  • Views to be collected on impact of emerging tech, such as AI and virtual reality, on pornography
  • Results will inform independent Pornography Review that will cover harm caused to sexual relationships and violence against women in wider society

Law enforcers, pornography makers, parents and the public are being asked to help shape the future of pornography regulation in the UK from today (Thursday 11 January) as the government launches a wide-ranging call for evidence as part of its review of the pornography industry.

The questionnaire, which closes on Thursday 7 March will collect evidence on the impact of pornographic content on relationships, sexual behaviours, mental health and people’s views of women and girls.

This exercise will provide independent Lead Reviewer Baroness Bertin with evidence that represents the views of those in the industry itself and the public, which will be used to develop recommendations for the government to undertake.

The substantial impact that new technologies have had on the pornography industry will also be covered, with respondents asked for their thoughts on how AI and virtual reality have changed how pornography is made, accessed and viewed, as well as how this impacts viewers and the industry.

Law enforcement and the criminal justice system will have an opportunity to raise what challenges face them in identifying and tackling these issues in pornography – as well as giving the industry an opportunity to set out what it is doing to tackle them more effectively.

Lead Reviewer Baroness Bertin said:

Throughout this review, it is essential we engage directly with those who are most involved in the pornography industry and accurately establish what the general public thinks of the current rules governing pornography.

We want to hear from a wide range of views, whether it be a worried parent, those enforcing the laws to stop exploitation or someone directing or performing in pornography themselves, to speak up and support our review.

Extreme pornography can have a damaging impact – we owe it to our children and indeed to the whole of society to put the guard rails back in place.

This review will help us fully understand what we must now do to protect those most affected as well as future proofing the law to keep pace with an ever-evolving pornography industry.

Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy Saqib Bhatti said:

The Pornography Review will be key to informing what we do next to tackle any harmful impact the industry may have on those working within it, or society at large.

The invaluable evidence the public, experts and industry provide will be integral to what Baroness Bertin recommends later this year.

Ian Critchley, QPM, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Child Abuse and Investigation said:

I very much welcome this Government commissioned review led by Baroness Bertin. It is one that is essential in tackling harmful sexual behaviours. This is in addition to the whole scale use of smart devices by teenagers and now under 10s, which gives them increased access to harmful material including violent pornography and indecent images of children.

The Online Safety Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation for a generation and it will help us to improve the safety of children and young people. In tandem with this review will provide a greater evidence base allowing us to better understand the impact violent pornography is having on the behaviour of young people and adults who continue to pose the greatest risk of harm to children. It will then ensure we can work together across agencies to prevent what has become normalised behaviour which is causing some of the greatest harm often with lifelong consequences.

The Pornography Review, announced last year, builds on the government’s work to take the long-term decisions for a better future for our children and grandchildren through the Online Safety Act, by stopping children from accessing pornography online by requiring services to establish the age of their users, including through age verification and age estimation tools.

Published 11 January 2024