A Christian charity is calling on the government to urgently curb internet pornography to prevent more cases of sexual violence.
CARE released a statement after it emerged that Sarah Everard's rapist and murderer Wayne Couzens had been obsessed with brutal pornography.
The charity, which campaigns for better online safety, said the revelations shine a spotlight on the role pornography plays in inciting sexual violence.
During proceedings at the Old Bailey last week, judges heard evidence from an individual who worked with Couzens before he joined the police force. The former colleague noted 'his attraction to brutal sexual pornography'.
CARE campaigned successfully for legislation to curb porn sites and restrict access by children. However, the measures were scrapped by the UK Government in 2019.
Nola Leach, CEO of CARE said :
"We worked on legislation that would have punished sites that host extreme content and blocked access to pornography by children. These vital measures were supported by women’s groups, child safety campaigners and endorsed by parliament. But Ministers delayed implementation for two years and, in 2019, they scrapped Part 3.
"The case of Wayne Couzens is an unspeakably awful example of what porn obsession can lead to- brutal sexual violence in the offline world. Couzens enacted what he had seen dramatized on screen in videos that are easily accessible to any person with the click of a button.
"If we want to avoid more ‘Couzens’ in the years ahead, the government must stop men accessing content online that glorifies rape and violence, and fuels deeply sinister ideas about women. They must curb the porn industry and stop children accessing porn sites."
Research by the UK Government's Equalities Office published in February last year demonstrated a link between pornography consumption and violence against women and girls.
The report, titled 'The relationship between pornography use and harmful sexual behaviours', found that: "The majority of frontline workers spontaneously mentioned pornography as an influential factor for harmful sexual behaviours towards women and girls."
It added, "it was clear that the potential influence of pornography, especially when playing a role in conjunction with other factors, was a source of considerable concern for frontline workers.
"It was evident from the interviews that there was a widespread belief in the need to address the role that pornography plays, as part of the approach to minimising harmful sexual behaviours towards women".