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Pornography Impacts Forum in Wellington

Experts meet to discuss pornography’s effects on young people

July 12, 2017 - The Pornography Impacts Forum in Wellington on August 3rd will bring together thought leaders and practitioners from across Australia and New Zealand to discuss the impact that pornography is having on young people and what we can do to address it.

Research indicates that over 90% of young men and 60% of young women have seen pornography, and over 70% of young men use it regularly, with more than 80% of the most popular porn containing physical aggression. Pornography is now seen as the most prominent sexuality educator for many young people with most young people discovering porn well before they encounter sex – perhaps even before they have kissed or held a partner.

A key area of concern is within schools as there is a growing awareness of the ways in which the pervasiveness and influence of explicit sexual imagery can undermine students’ healthy development. Schools increasingly are required to respond to incidents relating to explicit sexual imagery, including students viewing pornography at school, but also ‘sexting’ incidents, involving the circulation of sexual imagery of students. This increase in incidents reflects a shift both in the place of new technologies and in the role of explicit sexual imagery in young people’s lives.

Many communities are now looking for assistance to address pornography’s influence. This Forum will highlight groups working with communities across Australasia to inform parents and schools, and support those who are keen to implement a broad, proactive approach to preventing the harms associated with pervasive and often-aggressive pornography.

“The Forum’s aim is to outline strategies that better equip young people to navigate healthy social and sexual development in the 21st century, while recognising that technological changes are here to stay.” according to Forum convener Shaun Lines.

“There are some innovative things happening in this space with Cara Gleeson for Our Watch(Australia) delivering a presentation around the ‘Respectful Relationships in Education’programme being rolled out across Victoria. Mike McCarthy from ACC will also discuss the ‘Mates & Dates’ programme that is now being delivered across more than 100 schools in New Zealand and there will be other groups sharing what is happening in their communities.”

The international speaker line-up includes:

Dr Michael Flood - an internationally recognised researcher on men, masculinities, violence, and sexualities. He has made a significant contribution to scholarly and community understanding of men’s and boys’ involvements in building gender equality.

Maree Crabbe – is Coordinator and co-founder of the Australian violence prevention project Reality & Risk: Pornography, young people and sexuality. Maree has worked with young people and on issues affecting young people for over 20 years. She has developed and delivered programs focusing on pornography, sexual violence prevention, sexual diversity, and prevention of sexually transmissible infections. Maree’s articles on young people, sexuality and pornography have been published in online and print media.

Cara Gleeson - has over a decade of experience in research and policy on gender equality, women’s rights, preventing violence and women, peace, and security in the NFP sector internationally and in Australia. As the program manager for Children and Young People at Our Watch she oversees program, policy and research on primary prevention in relation to zero to 20 year olds, including Respectful Relationships Education.

Mike McCarthy – following a career as a policeman, Mike is the manager of ACC’s Injury Prevention Violence Portfolio which has its focus on the early intervention and prevention of injuries arising from sexual violence, family violence and wilfully self-inflicted incidents. He has been involved in the roll out of the Mates & Dates programme.

Dr Nicola Gavey – Internationally recognised for her outstanding research, Nicola is trained as a clinical psychologist and worked in the community with women affected by sexual violence, before turning her attention to research on the sociocultural dynamics underlying rape and sexual coercion.

Full details of the speakers and conference programme are available at


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