- “There isn’t a town, village or hamlet in which children are not being sexually exploited,’ Sue Berelowitz tells MPs
- Online porn is ‘affecting children’s thresholds of what they think is normal’ leading them to ‘enact’ scenes from porn films
- Girls are being lured into parks by boys they meet online and gang-raped, she tells politicians
- Blocking computers is not enough – because children are now targeted via their mobiles
Children are committing depraved sex attacks after having their minds warped by online porn, a government expert warned yesterday.
In evidence to MPs, the Deputy Children’s Commissioner claimed there ‘isn’t a town, village or hamlet in which children are not being sexually exploited’ – often by other youngsters.
Sue Berelowitz said internet porn was ‘affecting children’s thresholds of what they think is normal
They are then ‘enacting’ scenes from porn movies – often as part of gangs which subject young girls to terrible abuse.
The deputy commissioner, appointed to look after the best interests of children, backed the Mail’s campaign for controls to make it harder for youngsters to access pornographic images on computers.
MPs, charities and this paper want a new ‘opt-in’ system – where access to porn is normally blocked by the internet service provider, unless parents specifically request otherwise. Miss Berelowitz told MPs this move would be the right way to make a ‘start’.
She said parents needed to recognise children could access porn from home computers and mobiles, and they alone would not be able to control successfully what young people could see.
Appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee, Miss Berelowitz told of her great concern about what internet porn was doing to vulnerable young minds.
She explained: ‘We’ve had boys say to us – some of the boys I’ve spoken to who’ve been involved in sexual exploitation – “it was like being in a porn movie”.
‘They have watched things and then they’ve enacted them. It has definitely affected children’s thresholds of what they think is normal.’
Her comments will increase the pressure on ministers to take drastic action to protect children from damaging images online.
The opt-in system is being resisted by internet companies, who make millions from adverts for pornographic websites. Ministers, who have been criticised for their close ties to companies such as Google, have yet to reach a final decision.
Miss Berelowitz, who is carrying out a two-year investigation on street grooming, painted a depressing picture of child sex abuse.
She added: ‘What I am uncovering is that sexual exploitation of children is happening all over the country. 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. It is very sadistic, it is very violent, it is very ugly.’
- Sadistic child abuse is rife across Britain, MPs warned (independent.co.uk)