Combating Online Pornography: PACE Cites the Work of the ECLJ

Combating Online Pornography: PACE Cites the Work of the ECLJ

By Priscille Kulczyk1713541718371

Another victory in the fight against child exposure to online pornography! Today, April 19, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) unanimously adopted a Resolution (N°2548) and a Recommendation (N°2274) on “The protection of children against online violence,” and the explanatory memorandum makes extensive reference to the work of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) in this area.

In particular, Irish Senator Joseph O'REILLY (European People's Party), rapporteur for these texts, expressly refers to the ECLJ website page containing the written contribution we sent just over a year ago to the PACE Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development. The aim of this contribution was to draw the rapporteur's attention to the need to deal with child exposure to pornography, since this is part of violence against children online. We pointed out that while pornography is harmful to all people, children are particularly vulnerable to it: they watch it massively and suffer serious consequences. We thus recommended that it encourage governments to take various measures to protect children from this scourge.


Read the ECLJ Contribution to the PACE Committee on Social Affairs: “Children, Internet & Pornography”


It has to be noted that, taking up our work more than once and almost word for word, the rapporteur fully shares our concern about the massive exposure of children to pornography and its consequences (§25-26). He emphasises that “Preventing the exposure of children to pornography is particularly important, given the established effects on behaviour and development”. Like our contribution, it recalls that “pornography consumption [is] significantly associated with an increase in verbal and physical aggression”. It also highlights the existence of “a link between pornography consumption and compulsive sexual behaviour disorder” and “a correlation between pornography and sexual violence between young people”. The rapporteur also agrees with us that “Pornography must be understood as a public health issue, for which States are responsible for taking appropriate measures, including education and awareness-raising measures”.


To explain this massive phenomenon, the resolution adopted this morning at the plenary session explicitly blames the harmful role of the covid-19 pandemic, as well as the intensive use of smartphones by children.


Read our article about the Dangerous Cocktail « Youth, Smartphones, and Porn » published in the French newspaper La Croix


This resolution includes several of our recommendations. PACE therefore calls on States to “take specific measures to protect young children from premature exposure to the digital environment given their vulnerability to, inter alia, violent, sexual or pornographic content” (4.3). These measures include introducing mandatory and effective age verification on websites (4.1), increasing the awareness and responsibility of parents and other educators with regard to child exposure to online pornography (4.2 and 4.5), and also making stakeholders in the technology industry, who are accountable for protecting children, more responsible.


It is encouraging to note that PACE declares itself “determined to further examine the issue of “violent pornography”, including pornography available online, taking into account the specific problem of children being exposed to such content.”


It is important to recall that PACE is part of the Council of Europe, an international institution that brings together 46 member states and is entirely distinct from the European Union. Although PACE brings together almost all European states, the texts it adopts are not binding but do have the authority of a political declaration.  


The ECLJ is very glad that its commitment to protecting children from pornography is bearing fruit at the Council of Europe. We invite you to help us in this fight that we will continue for sure by signing and sharing our petition:

No to pornography !
Read the full text of the petition


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