Violence against Women and Girls

Part of Contamination of Beef Products – in the House of Commons at 12:41 pm on 14th February 2013.

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Photo of Claire Perry Claire Perry Conservative, Devizes 12:41 pm, 14th February 2013

My hon. Friend raises a very good point. Work is going on to put age ratings on games and also on online music videos. Perhaps I am prudish, but some of the stuff that one sees in the gym these days is not what I want my children to be watching. It is fine as long as it is age rated and parents know that it is available.

On third-party content, Britain will be leading the world in the way that we protect our families. That is a tribute to the energy of this Parliament.

The second bucket of problems is often referred to as “sexting”. That is not a term that children use and it is rather an inflammatory one. It refers to user-generated content that we would all recognise if we saw it. The problem is children and young people exchanging inappropriate images, content and messages. That is a huge, growing and endemic problem and we have no idea how big it is. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children published qualitative research last year that suggested that it is almost the norm in schools for children to receive and exchange this sort of information.

There have been some extraordinarily tragic cases. Chevonea Kendall-Bryan, a constituent of my hon. Friend Jane Ellison, committed suicide after being forced to perform a sex act on a boy and then pleading with him to remove the image. Records show that she had sent him a text message saying:

“How much can I handle? HONESTLY. I beg you, delete that.”

He did not delete the image and she fell to her death from a window. That is a tragic case.

Only yesterday, another colleague gave me an e-mail from a woman saying that her 12-year-old daughter had been seriously sexually assaulted in class at a very good independent school. This issue cuts across all boundaries and affects all parts of the country. The mother said that when she talked to her daughter about why alarms bells did not go off when the boy sent a text requesting sexual acts, her daughter looked at her as if she was mad and said, “Mum, All the boys send texts like that.” Boys as young as 11 and 12 are sending highly inappropriate photographs of their genitalia around networks via social media.