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Porn accessed by Torbay children is 'ticking timebomb'

Tuesday, 14 November 2023 08:15

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Inappropriate content will store up trouble (image courtesy: Daniel Romero/ Unsplash)

Claims it will lead to domestic violence

Children watching pornography on their phones and tablets are creating a ‘ticking timebomb’ of domestic violence in Torbay, it has been claimed.

“It is horrendous what our children are being exposed to,” council officer Shirley Beauchamp told the bay’s overview and scrutiny committee.

“There has been a shift in the types of behaviour young people are perpetrating against each other, and that is directly linked to the type of pornography they are accessing.”

The meeting heard that work is underway in local schools to tackle the issues, with some taking part in a pilot scheme in which youngsters are trained to mentor their classmates. Children as young as nine are taking part.

Committee members heard an update on a campaign to ‘break the chain’ of domestic violence, penned by Ms Beauchamp, who is Torbay’s domestic abuse and sexual violence commissioning and strategy lead.

Cllr Darren Cowell (Independent, Shiphay) said it is also important to reach older people who could be the victims of violence in their own homes. And he said it is often forgotten that men could also be domestic abuse victims.

Collette Eaton Harris, interpersonal trauma and violence lead for NHS Devon, said: “For some people their wedding vows mean they will not think about that behaviour as being abuse.

“And there is a hidden cohort of men who were sexually abused as children and are just not heard.”

A report to the meeting said victims often do not report domestic violence because they do not think they would be believed, and feared their children could be taken away. Some also said there is a culture of ‘victim-blaming’.

Members heard that domestic violence also led to other health issues. One Torbay woman had come forward for medical care more than 150 times in 10 years for issues including sexually transmitted infections, injury, assault and miscarriage.

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