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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May 2008, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Violent porn ban gets the green light
By Hannah Morrison
Newsbeat reporter

Two women performing erotic show

Today a new law gets the final go-ahead which will make it illegal to own violent porn. From next January extreme videos, photos and online material will be banned.

That includes any image where it looks like someone's life could be in danger or where parts of their body could be seriously hurt.

The government’s making it a crime to own this stuff because it thinks looking at these images could encourage violent behaviour.

But critics say it’s going to make criminals out of people who look at violent porn with no intention of harming anyone.

Here are two very different views on the changes.

Lucy – Against the ban

Lucy thinks the ban will "create millions of harmless criminals"

Lucy’s just put her three-year old son to bed - she’s spent the day with him, hanging out in the park and going to playgroup.

She’s a normal mum who does normal stuff but some of the things she gets up to behind closed doors wouldn’t quite be seen that way.

“With my girlfriend in the privacy of my own home we engage in dominance and submission. It’s all consensual. To us it’s a way we express our love for each other.”

She’s one of millions of people who enjoy bondage, domination and sado-masochism (BDSM).

Lucy says she’ll only do this kind of stuff with people who agree to it and she’d never want to cause actual harm to anyone.

Any photos, online images or videos she watches all feature actors.

“I’ve been looking on my computer - one particular image that I’m going to have to get rid of is this one. Two women, one holding a knife to the other one’s throat.

“When I look at this picture I do not feel compelled to go out and hurt anybody. I don’t know anybody else who would look at that picture and feel compelled to go out and hurt people.

"Although I do know quite a few people who would go 'mmm that’s quite a sexy image'.”

When the new law comes in to force in January this picture could be illegal.

It’s a crime to own any pornographic image that shows someone in a potentially life-threatening situation.

“The wording in it is so incredibly vague," says Lucy.

"We want a piece of legislation that is going to catch people who are dangerous but under this you are going to create millions of harmless criminals overnight.”

Liz Longhurst – For the ban

Liz Longhurst
Liz's daughter Jane was killed by a man addicted to violent porn

Liz’s daughter Jane was killed in 2003. She was strangled to death by Graham Coutts, a man who was addicted to violent porn websites.

He’d downloaded hundreds of images of women being raped and strangled as well as pictures claiming to show people having sex with corpses.

Liz thinks if these hadn’t been available for him to look at, her daughter would still be alive.

“It made it seem alright. I think he knew from quite a young age that it wasn’t really alright.

"But I think he thought, well, there are all these sites, I’m not the only one and it must be alright really and so he just went with the flow.”

Innocent intentions

Since Jane’s death Liz has been campaigning for this new law.

She understands that many people who look at extreme images have no intention of hurting people.

"Sometimes the freedoms of like-minded, decent people have to be curtailed because of a few others.

"I know some would argue women choose to do this. But I believe a lot of women who have been trafficked are forced to be on these sites.”

With the growth of the internet, extreme pornographic images have become a lot more readily available now.

This new law means looking at one on your PC could result in a jail sentence.

Liz says: “What it’s allowing is for the police to walk in to anybody’s home, pick up anybody’s computer and check out what’s on it.

“It won’t be accepted by the majority of people until somebody else has been murdered like Jane.”

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