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Inquiry launches national TV campaign for the Truth Project

Source: The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published on this site Monday 21st January 2019 by Jill Powell

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse launched a landmark television public awareness campaign to ensure victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have the opportunity to be heard at the Truth Project.

Created in consultation with victims and survivors, the Truth Project campaign aims to encourage people to share their experience in writing, on the phone or in person, as well as create a public discussion around the impact of child sexual abuse.

The awareness raising campaign comprises a TV advertisement and supporting activity across social media networks and will run from 14 January until the end of February.

The advertisement shows blank speech bubbles floating above people in various locations across England and Wales. These represent the difficulties many victims and survivors face in being able to talk about their experiences of child sexual abuse.

Alongside the campaign, the Inquiry is also publishing a number of new anonymous experiences from the Truth Project, with accounts from across a range of institutions.

To date, over 2,000 experiences have now been shared with the Truth Project.

Dru Sharpling, Inquiry Panel member and lead for the Truth Project said:

“We have to break the wall of silence that has built up around child sexual abuse if we are to create a safer future for children.

“The experiences, perspectives and insights of victims and survivors who come forward will help us to make meaningful and robust recommendations for change.”

Chris Tuck, a member of the Inquiry’s Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel said:

“I am a survivor of child sexual abuse and a campaigner. I’d been silent for so long

that at first I didn’t have the right words to describe what happened to me.

“I’ve been waiting decades for society to sit up and listen to the experiences of victims and survivors and I am proud to support this campaign.

“The Truth Project exists to give people like me a voice, so that together we can help protect future generations.”

Coercive control: How father's abuse turned into murder

BBC News published on this site Friday 18th January 2018 by Jill Powell

Jenny Rees BBC Wales home affairs correspondent writes:

“Luke Hart's father spent "most of his time belittling" his family.

He would use money as a way to control them, stop his wife going for coffee, call his daughter stupid and say his sons were not real men.

Then, after years of abuse, Lance Hart killed his wife Claire, 50, and daughter Charlotte, 19, with a sawn-off shotgun in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

Now his son Luke is backing a Welsh Government campaign to raise awareness of the effects of coercive control.

Luke, 28, said his father spent 26 years exerting control on his family.

"It was small things, but every day something wasn't perfect," he said.

"We often couldn't afford the fuel to leave the house, or our mother couldn't afford coffee with friends, so mother was restrained to stay in the house.

"He would use tactics to make us lose our confidence, he would often call Charlotte stupid or pretend Ryan [Luke's brother] and I weren't real men."

But Luke, who set up a charity called CoCo Awareness with his brother Ryan after their mother and sister were killed, said they never realised he would harm the family.

But four days after Claire decided to leave her husband, he killed her and their daughter in a leisure centre car park

"We never thought he was dangerous. We thought he was horrible - a nasty person - but never thought he was dangerous, but that's because we didn't understand that control is at the root of domestic abuse," Luke said.

"Four days after we moved my mother and sister out of the house, he shot them one at a time and then shot himself.

"The violence seemed to come out of nowhere, but control had always been growing and murder is the ultimate act of control, it was the next step on that journey."

Coercive control became a criminal offence in 2015 and 9,053 offences were recorded in England and Wales in 2018, with an average imprisonment of 17 months for those who were prosecuted.

Jane Hutt, the chief whip in the Welsh assembly, said: "Coercive control had been fairly under the radar until recently. With the remarkable support of survivors and partner organisations, we hope this campaign will raise awareness of this toxic behaviour and empower more people to come forward."

Yasmin Khan, a domestic abuse advisor to the Welsh Government, said: "Survivors tell us they feel humiliated by the control they've experienced and this is compacted by the fact it can be hard for them to prove what's happening.

"They describe a 'drip, drip' effect of coercive control - a cumulative build up and escalation, often towards physical abuse, over time.""

Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19 for England and Wales awaiting Royal consent

Source: Parliament published on this site Wednesday 16th January 2019 by Jill Powell

The third reading and the final chance for the Lords to change the Bill - took place on 15 January and no amendments were made.

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the Bill it now waits for the final stage of Royal Assent when the Bill will become an Act of Parliament. A date for Royal Assent has yet to be set.

The Voyeurism (Offences) (No 2) Bill is a one clause government bill which would insert two new offences into the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The offences would cover the practice of ‘upskirting’: taking a photograph up a person’s clothes without their consent.

The bill “mirrors closely” the measures contained in a private member’s bill introduced by Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat MP for Bath) in March 2018, the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill 2017­­–19. Although the Government had indicated its support for Mrs Hobhouse’s bill, the bill was objected to at its second reading on 15 June 2018. The Government subsequently announced that it would be introducing its own legislation “to ensure that these important changes are on the statute as soon as possible”.

Under-15s will no longer be able to go to see films that depict rape and other sexual violence under new rules set by Britain's film ratings body.

Source: BBC News published on this site Thursday 17th January 2019 by Jill Powell

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) surveyed more than 10,000 people and found it to be among parents' main concerns.

Any film showing sexual violence will now get at least a 15 rating rather than a 12 or a 12A.

The BBFC also wants its ratings to appear on all streaming services.

BBFC chief executive David Austin said a film like Keira Knightley's 2008 drama The Duchess, which was classed as a 12 at the time, would be made a 15 today because it included a rape scene.

"What parents told us was, that's too much for 12-year-olds," he told BBC News. "It's enough that a 12-year-old knows that a rape has taken place. They do not need to see it, no matter how discreetly it's filmed."

In the survey, parents said they were worried about the "sexualisation of society and what they called the pornification of society", according to Mr Austin.

"They are worried about children growing up being exposed to too much too soon, and they want to hold onto their children's childhood as far as they can," he said.

"That's another one of the reasons why from now on we will not be classifying any depiction of sexual violence at 12. We will limit it to 15."

The BBFC also looked at other "real life" scenarios like self-harm, mental health and suicide, but said its existing rules were in line with the public's views.

For example, viewers were happy that Netflix's To The Bone, about a young women dealing with anorexia, was given a 15.

"Parents and children said we were right to do this because that issue is not suitable when it's shown in that way for 12-year-olds," Mr Austin said.

Viewers were less worried about less realistic action violence, such as that seen in James Bond or Marvel films, the survey found.

Meanwhile, 95% of teenagers surveyed said they want online streaming services to carry the same age ratings as cinemas and DVDs.

They already appear on many Netflix shows and films, but Mr Austin said they were working with Netflix to make it 100% - as well as working with other services.

He said: "We are going to be working in 2019 with some of the big platforms to fulfil what the public has asked us to do, which is to ensure those ratings are consistent when you view something at the cinema, whether you view it on DVD or whether you view it on a tablet in your bedroom."

The new guidelines will come into effect on 28 February.

A 43-year-old man from Swansea has been jailed for 14 online child sex abuse offences.

Source: National Crime Agency (NCA) published on this site Tuesday 15th January 2019 by Jill Powell

A 43-year-old man from Swansea has today been jailed for 14 online child sex abuse offences.

Rene Kinzett pleaded guilty to an indictment that covered nine years’ offending - from 2008 to 2017.

Kinzett, of Sketty, Swansea, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in 2015 and was being investigated when the National Crime Agency and South Wales Police also launched a joint investigation into him in 2017.

On 1 September 2017 Kinzett signed into a live-streaming chat room with his online identity ‘UKcloudybi Perv’ while footage of children being raped was broadcast.

He was present when seven category A (the worst) videos were streamed, one category B and one category C.He asked other users several times if anyone had “pedo mom vids?”

Today, he was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to 45 months after admitting 14 charges including encouraging other offenders to share child abuse material.

NCA senior investigating officer Graham Ellis said: “Offenders who take part on these online forums, or possess these depraved images, do so knowing that the children have been abused.

“They believe they can access images and videos online and stay anonymous. They’re wrong. NCA and police officers are highly trained and experienced, there is no place to hide, we will catch you.”

Detective Inspector Clive Bevan said: "Investigating sexual violence is a priority for South Wales Police and we are committed to investigating all reports of sexual abuse, including online – regardless of when they occurred – in order to ensure that those who exploit the most vulnerable members of society are brought to justice.

"We have dedicated teams to help and support victims of sexual offences and we work closely with a number of agencies to whom we are able to signpost victims should they wish.

"South Wales Police urges anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse to come forward, safe in the knowledge that they will be treated with respect and dignity by our specialist officers.

“Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility and we urge anyone with information that could help police to contact 101 or 999 in an emergency."

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