Event – Manchester Urban Collaboration on Health, University of Manchester – Pornography, Domestic Violence and the Family Courts

Date: Monday 20th June 2022

Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm

Addressing the impact of pornography and domestic violence on mothers and children and how this is considered in family court proceedings.

Register here.

About this event

Every month, pornography websites get more visited than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined. Over 40 years of empirical research shows pornography damages the health of both males and females. Research links pornography exposure to increased levels of violence against women and children, and to impairment of healthy sexual, emotional, and cognitive development.

Experts have warned of the rising links between fathers’ consumption of pornography, domestic violence and child abuse. Mothers are more frequently reporting being coerced and forced into denigrating and dangerous sexual acts as an extension of domestic violence from perpetrator fathers. Children are more frequently reporting being exposed to pornography. However, many professionals often do not consider pornography consumption to be a child protection issue, despite the known links between violence towards women and children, the health and social implications and the exploitation of women and children in pornography.

The conference will explore the links between pornography, domestic violence and family court proceedings.

Speakers will address the impact of pornography and domestic violence on mothers and children and how this is considered in family court proceedings. Attendees will leave with extensive knowledge and skills to help support families as well as health, social, legal and teaching professionals to think critically about domestic violence, pornography and family court proceedings.

With thanks to our sponsoring partners:

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Register here.

Agenda

9:30-9:45 Welcome & Introduction

9:45-10:30 Growing up in a Porn Culture: How Hypersexualized Images Undermine Healthy Development

Dr Gail Dines Professor Emerita of Sociology and Women’s Studies President, Culture Reframed

10:30-11:00 Adolescent Pornography Engagement and New Contexts for Sexual Behaviour and Consent

Dr. Tamasine Preece (PhD, MA, BA, PGCert, PGDip, YMHFA, ASIST) is Curriculum Lead for Health and Wellbeing at a secondary school in South Wales.

11:00-11:15 Break

11:15-12:00 The Deleterious Impact of Adult Pornography use and Parenting

Dr. Sharon Cooper Staff Developmental and Forensic Pediatrician; Womack Army Medical Center; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Commissioner, CHILD USA The National Think Tank for Child Protection.

12:00-12:30 Those Who Suffer in Silence: The Contribution of Pornography to Separation/Divorce Violence Against Women and Children

Dr. Walter DeKeseredy Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences, Director of the Research Center on Violence, and Professor of Sociology

12:30-1:00 Lunch Break

1:00- 1:30 Online Addictions, Exploitation, and the Devastating Reality of Sexual Assault among Children

Louise Barraclough (RGN DFSRH) Specialist Safeguarding Nurse, Devon & Cornwall Sexual Assault Referral Centres/ Paediatric centre of Excellence. Devon Sexual Health Services/ Integrated Safeguarding Team – NHS Northern Devon Healthcare Trust

1:30-2:15 Porn, Family Court and Post-Separation Abuse Impacts

Natalie Page, founder of #thecourtsaid and Survivor Family Network

2:15-3:00 Surviving Domestic Violence, Pornography and the Family Courts

Survivor panel

3:00 -3:15 Break

3:15-4:00 Breakout sessions

1) legal professionals

2) health and child protection experts

3) teachers and families

4:00-4:30 Closing remarks and action steps

Register here.

Presentations

Growing up in a Porn Culture: How Hypersexualized Images Undermine Healthy Development

Dr Gail Dines Professor Emerita of Sociology and Women’s Studies President, Culture Reframed

In light of the contemporary research on the harms of porn, it is crucial that experts and professionals tasked with developing healthy and resilient youth both understand the multiple social, emotional, and cognitive harms of pornography, and work to develop strategies to counter the misogynist messages, ideologies, and tropes that are encoded in the images. Toward this end, this workshop will provide: (1) a content analysis and deconstruction of mainstream pornography and hypersexualized images; (2) a detailed account of the peer-reviewed literature on the harms of pornography, and (3) a nuanced discussion of the way women are harmed in the production, distribution, and consumption of pornography.

This workshop will further explore the ways that social media platforms targeted to youth intersect with the porn industry, and how these platforms drive kids to mainstream porn sites. The porn industry, always hunting for new markets, is looking to cash in on the popularity of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. And to keep porn under wraps, it’s often hidden behind hashtags and emojis that appear innocuous to the untrained eye, but are used as secret code to tag and search for particular types of porn.

Adolescent Pornography Engagement and New Contexts for Sexual Behaviour and Consent

Dr. Tamasine Preece (PhD, MA, BA, PGCert, PGDip, YMHFA, ASIST) is Curriculum Lead for Health and Wellbeing at a secondary school in South Wales.

New and emerging technologies have created a context for pornography in which children and young people have easy access to violent, degrading and dehumanising content. Engagement with such material is having a significant impact on constructions of sexual behaviour and consent with boys and young men motivated to carry out harmful activities and girls and young women coerced into or even accepting of victimizing behaviours. Supporting children and young people to evaluate the legal, ethical, health and safety implications of pornography takes time, expertise and consistent messaging and teachers and other adults who work with young people are facing the challenge of facilitating this dialogue. During this presentation Tamasine introduces approaches to this challenge and explores how professionals from related sectors including the courts need to consider the role of pornography in the lives of the children and young people across these contexts.

The Deleterious Impact of Adult Pornography use and Parenting

Dr. Sharon W. Cooper, M.D. FAAP Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, P.A.

Habitual use of digital technology has been scientifically noted to increase risks of compulsivity now is recognized as a behavioral disorder. Digital pornography is particularly problematic and continues to be cited as a source of marital discord, impaired parenting, separation and divorce. In select cases, the compulsive parental behavior of viewing pornography including sharing images with minor children tacitly assuming the children will be unaffected or exposure as a source of sex education, has resulted in severe problematic sexual behaviors exhibited by children who experienced resultant inpatient management and/or sex offender registration. Reports of excessive digital use by parents and caregivers have already resulted in Pediatric anticipatory guidance in well childcare because of evidence of parental neglect of nurturance and verbal responsivity as well as in some circumstances child endangerment involving toddler and preschool-aged children. The two most concerning types of digital addiction are pornography and online videogames. The latter may also include pornography as part of the content. Numerous case examples will be provided regarding the deleterious impact of digital pornography on parenting.

Those Who Suffer in Silence: The Contribution of Pornography to Separation/Divorce Violence Against Women and Children

Dr. Walter DeKeseredy Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences, Director of the Research Center on Violence, and Professor of Sociology

Much of the extant social scientific literature on separation/divorce violence focuses on the risks to women and their children from male partners when women want to end, are planning to end, are trying to end, are in the process of ending, or have ended a relationship with a male marital or cohabiting partner. A small but slowly growing body of interdisciplinary research reveals that much more attention to male pornography consumption patterns is necessary to develop a richer, policy-relevant understanding of the dynamics of women’s dangerous exits. The main objective of this presentation is twofold: (1) to briefly review the current state of knowledge about the connection between men’s porn use and separation/divorce violence against women and children and (2) to suggest new directions in research, theory, and policy.

Online Addictions, Exploitation, and the Devastating Reality of Sexual Assault among Children

Louise Barraclough (RGN DFSRH) Specialist Safeguarding Nurse, Devon & Cornwall Sexual Assault Referral Centres/ Paediatric centre of Excellence. Devon Sexual Health Services/ Integrated Safeguarding Team – NHS Northern Devon Healthcare Trust

It’s no secret that child sexual assault is rampant across the world. However, most people do not realize that a large percentage of those committing sexual assaults against children are children themselves. This alarming trend comes as a surprise, as many people assume perpetrators are adult men who groom children through a range of techniques. This presentation addresses the overwhelming number of children who are being assaulted, factors influencing children who act out in sexually harmful ways, the impact of abuse and exploitation, and ways that kids can get help for problematic sexual behaviors.

Louise Barraclough has recently conducted an original piece of research in collaboration with police and social care exploring ‘the potential relationship between children’s use of and/or exposure to easily available online pornography and Harmful Sexual Behavior between children’. Barraclough will present the results, talk about the themes and patterns that she sees in their service, and what she believes the priorities should be in responding to individual children and addressing this significant and growing societal and cultural harm for all children—victims and actors alike.

Behind Closed Doors: Porn, Abuse and Family Court

Natalie Page, founder of #thecourtsaid and Survivor Family Network

Is domestic abuse linked to porn? Do the courts recognise the link? How do services respond when mothers report abuse linked to porn? Is it minimised? Are opportunities to safeguard mothers and children missed?

Addressing the normalisation of pornography, Natalie Page’s talk explores how porn intersects with domestic abuse behind closed doors, by examining the harrowing, real-life accounts of mothers in family court.

Natalie reveals the responses from the family justice system to mothers harmed by their ex-partner’s porn use and abuse and sets out a re-imagined response for everyone concerned with safeguarding.

Surviving Domestic Violence, Pornography and the Family Courts

Survivor panel

Survivors will be discussing their experiences of domestic violence/ pornography and how the family courts and professionals addressed the pornography use of their ex-partner and how pornography use impacted survivors and/or their children.

Speakers

Dr Gail Dines Professor Emerita of Sociology and Women’s Studies President, Culture Reframed.

Dr. Gail Dines, a Professor Emerita of Sociology and Women’s Studies, has been researching and writing about the harms of pornography for over thirty years. She is a recipient of the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America, and author of numerous books and articles. Her latest book, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, has been translated into five languages.

Dr. Dines is the Founder and President of the non-profit, Culture Reframed. Dedicated to building resilience and resistance in children and youth to the harms of a hypersexualized and pornified society, Culture Reframed develops cutting-edge educational programs that promote healthy development, relationships, and sexuality. Dr. Dines has worked with organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, The Centers for Disease Control, The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, as well as government bodies in the US, Brazil, UK, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Colombia, and Canada. She regularly appears on CNN, NPR, BBC, CBC, and writes for media outlets such as The Guardian, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The Boston Globe. Her TEDx talk focuses on the harms of growing up in a porn culture.

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Dr. Tamasine Preece (PhD, MA, BA, PGCert, PGDip, YMHFA, ASIST)

Tamasine Preece (PhD, MA, BA, PGCert, PGDip, YMHFA, ASIST) is Curriculum Lead for Health and Wellbeing at a secondary school in South Wales. Tamasine also holds a Level 7 Qualification in Leadership in Education and a Level 6 Introductory Qualification in Counselling. Following the completion of her PhD on the subject of Adolescent Suicide, Self-harm, and Social Media use she has carried out freelance consultancy alongside her teaching, predominantly in fields related to social media, self-harm and suicide, exploitation, sexual health and substance misuse.

Tamasine is a member of the Expert Panel for national charity Internet Matters and consults for Culture Reframed on matters related to RSE and exploitation. Tamasine has previously presented her work on Inclusive Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) at national and international events and conferences, including at an APPG on Sex and Safeguarding, Health in Wales (NHS), Inside Government, Westminster Briefing, Hackney Learning Trust and Culture Reframed. Tamasine was seconded on a part-time basis to the Healthy Schools Team (Public Health Wales) to support primary and secondary practitioners working towards the national award. She has also worked with schools to develop bespoke RSE policy, curriculum and resources and in response to specific challenges.

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Dr. Sharon W. Cooper, M.D. FAAP Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, P.A.

Dr. Sharon Cooper is a Developmental and Forensic Pediatrician who cares for children and select adults with different abilities, as well as those who have been victims of crime. Dr. Cooper retired from the United States Army with the rank of Colonel and holds adjunct faculty positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences at Bethesda, Maryland. She has worked in the area of Forensic Pediatrics since 1980. She has provided numerous lectures nationally and internationally and her primary areas of expertise include all areas of child behavior, child maltreatment, child torture and child sexual exploitation.

Dr. Cooper has published numerous chapters on the subject of child sexual exploitation and is the lead editor of one of the most comprehensive texts in the U.S. on this subject. She is an international consultant in the area of child sexual abuse material (the correct term for images formerly referred to as child pornography). As a Developmental and Forensic Pediatrician, Dr. Cooper evaluates and treats children and families who have experienced adult pornography facilitated sexual crimes.

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Dr. Walter DeKeseredy Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences, Director of the Research Center on Violence, and Professor of Sociology

Walter S. DeKeseredy is Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair of Social Sciences, Director of the Research Center on Violence, and Professor of Sociology at West Virginia University. DeKeseredy has published 27 books, over 130 scientific journal articles and close to 100 scholarly book chapters on violence against women and other social problems. In 2008, the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma gave him the Linda Saltzman Memorial Intimate Partner Violence Researcher Award. He also jointly received the 2004 Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology’s (ASC) Division on Women and Crime and the 2007 inaugural UOIT Research Excellence Award. In 1995, he received the Critical Criminologist of the Year Award from the ASC’s Division on Critical Criminology (DCC) and in 2008 the DCC gave him the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, he received the Critical Criminal Justice Scholar Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ (ACJS) Section on Critical Criminal Justice and in 2015, he received the Career Achievement Award from the ASC’s Division on Victimology. In 2017, he received the Impact Award from the ACJS’s section on Victimology and the Robert Jerrin Book Award from the ASC’s Division on Victimology.

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Louise Barraclough (RGN DFSRH) Specialist Safeguarding Nurse, Devon & Cornwall Sexual Assault Referral Centres/ Paediatric centre of Excellence. Devon Sexual Health Services/ Integrated Safeguarding Team – NHS Northern Devon Healthcare Trust

Louise Barraclough’s role as the Specialist Safeguarding Nurse involves (among many other things) case management of complex safeguarding and child protection, multi-agency collaboration with police and children’s social care and policy development. The service she works for cares for, on average, 4-5 children per week; Harmful Sexual Behavior (HSB) between children consistently accounts for at least 30% of those cases.

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Natalie Page, founder of #thecourtsaid and Survivor Family Network

Natalie is the founder of #thecourtsaid, a campaign to challenge the mishandling of domestic abuse within the family courts. Drawing on her own experiences, Natalie has worked tirelessly to reach women around the world. She has also organised a major demonstration in Parliament Square. Her campaign has gained an increasingly high public profile, as Natalie was a major contributor to a Channel 4 documentary on the family courts and has also featured in the Guardian, the Daily Express, and on the BBC. In 2021, she was awarded the Centre for Women’s Justice and Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize for her work preventing violence against women and children. She has founded a not-for-profit called Survivor Family Network, focused on furthering the rights of mothers and children in family court. Besides all her campaigning work, Natalie continues to work behind the scenes to support other mothers going through the family courts after domestic abuse.

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Register here.

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