Collective Shout welcomes the opportunity to contribute to Online Safety legislative reform. We support intentions to consolidate and harmonise current laws and to ensure streamlining and consistency in a range of digital offences. We are especially pleased to see plans for an expansion of protection against cyberbullying, cyber abuse, image-based abuse and seriously harmful content. As the digital landscape is in a constant state of flux, new opportunities arise – and with them new dangers. This necessitates updated legislation to ensure a safer online environment prioritising human rights and community welfare.Read more
Recommendation 1: In light of data verifying the real-life harms of childhood exposure to pornography the Commonwealth government should recognise the potential benefits of an Age Verification system along with other measures to limit porn exposure to children, including education programs and improved ISP filters.
Recommendation 2: An age verification scheme for access to online pornography, drawing from work done to develop the original United Kingdom model and with added measures that address perceived shortcomings in that model, for example, additions that extend application to social media platforms, should be implemented by the Commonwealth Government.
Recommendation 3: Introduce an age verification system that will restrict children’s access to online pornography (and the global porn industry’s unfettered access to children), acknowledging that our obligation to protect children, and the ensuing protections afforded to children by such a system far outweigh the concerns of those with vested interests in the global porn industry.
Recommendation 4: Introduce an Age Verification system that will restrict children’s access to online pornography (and the global porn industry’s unfettered access to children) and so uphold Australia’s international obligations to protect children from abuse, exploitation and developmental harm, acknowledging that exposure to online pornography amounts to abuse, exploitation and harm.
Click here to read the full submission.
We've been heard!
The House of Reps Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has released its report - 'Protecting the age of innocence' - following its Inquiry into Age Verification for online porn. We welcome the Committee's recommendation of a 'roadmap for the implementation of a regime of mandatory Age Verification for online pornographic material'.
Read the full report - which references Collective Shout's and Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist's submissions and evidence - here.
Collective Shout calls for stronger ad code of ethics to rein in harmful sexist advertising
Collective Shout has made a submission to the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics Review. In this long-needed review, we highlighted the failings of the advertising self-regulatory system and the weaknesses of the existing Code. We also documented the growing body of evidence demonstrating the real-life harms of sexually objectifying portrayals of women.
We highlighted the double-standards of governments investing in violence-prevention initiatives while failing to address cultural drivers that normalizes – and even eroticises – this mistreatment:
While there is increasing recognition of issues related to violence against women, there is at the same time an increasing pornification of public space. Members of the public - including children - are conducting life’s activities against a backdrop of sexualised images that objectify and demean women.
We also drew on recommendations from our submission to the AHRC Inquiry into Workplace Harassment, noting that sexualised imagery in advertising creates a hostile workplace environment and increases the likelihood of workplace sexual harassment. We stated:
[N]o Australian worker should be excluded from protections against sexual harassment in the workplace regardless of the fact that their employment duties are carried out in public spaces. It is a discredit to the advertising industry that people - women and girls in particular - are experiencing sexual harassment as a direct result of its failing system.
Just this week the AHRC released findings which underscored the importance of our recommendations to the AHRC inquiry and AANA review. The AHRC survey – conducted with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) union - found that 'four per cent of workers had been sexually harassed because of an inappropriate marketing campaign by a retailer..[W]hen retailers did have a suggestive campaign, it led to one in five of their workers being sexually harassed'. (We have pointed out risks to women in previous ad campaigns, for example the time General Pants required staff to wear ‘I Love Sex’ badges).
We noted the inadequacy of the Code and its practice notes in the consideration of minors, that while these account for the way children are portrayed in advertising, they do not give proper attention to the way minors in the audience perceive advertising, or to the harms that ensue. We recommended that:
In the same way the Industry Practice Note prohibits the portrayal of minors in a sexualised way, it should also prohibit the exposure of minors to sexualised and sexually objectifying portrayals of others - particularly women - in advertising.
We further pointed out the inadequacies of the Code that accommodate the Ad Standards Community Panel's dismissal of complaints against porn-themed ads on the basis that the model "appears confident" or "in control", or due to stylistic elements like pixelation (to blur body parts) and flashing (where an ad is shown as a sequence of still images rotated at speed, rather than as a single, still image). We noted that such elements do not detract from the sexualised features of an ad and may actually enhance them.
Earlier this week, new research was released on community perceptions of gender portrayals in advertising which confirmed the normalising of sexist, degrading representations of women in advertising. This research supports the view we have held since we formed: that community welfare needs to come before the vested interests of the advertising industry.
Read our full submission here.
Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation appreciates the opportunity to contribute a submission to the very important National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces.
We commend the Australian Human Rights Commission for investigating this unfortunately widespread problem. We do not use this submission to comment on individual sexual harassment cases we have experienced or witnessed. Rather, writing as a movement against sexploitative practices in all their many manifestations, we wish to draw your attention to broader issues in Australian society which influence, drive and reinforce sexual harassment. In our extensive experience of grassroots campaigning, we believe that the interrelated issues of pornography, objectification of women and sexualised imagery in advertising are all pertinent to the issue of workplace sexual harassment. These are areas that need serious regulatory overhaul and a human rights-based approach to prevent the harms they cause.
This bill seeks to amend a number of Acts to improve the Commonwealth framework of offences relating to child pornography material and child abuse material, overseas child sexual abuse, forced marriage, failing to report child sexual abuse and failing to protect children from such abuse.
Click here to read Collective Shout's full submission.
Australian children are growing up in a digital, interactive, internet-enabled society and culture. While the benefits of such connectivity can be great, Collective Shout and our supporters are also very conscious of the potential for the internet to enable malicious, and illegal activities against children, as well as more broadly exposing children to harmful and inappropriate content. We share in the growing expert concern about the experiences children and young people risk being exposed to online, and the consequences of these experiences on their wellbeing and healthy
We also hold significant concerns for those responsible for the welfare of children, particularly (although not only) parents, as they are attempting to maintain their childrens’ online safety while helping them to navigate life in a digital world.
More broadly we are concerned with the threat to adults, especially women, from cyber bullying, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and the pervasive presence of pornography that presents a distorted view of women and feeds toxic masculinity through what Dr Michael Flood has aptly described as “rape training”.
Collective Shout has contributed a submission to the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Bill 2018.
The drafted federal Bill was introduced to the House of Representatives in June 2018, which shortly follows NSW’s Modern Slavery Bill being passed through the NSW Legislative Council in the same month.
Collective Shout acknowledges the government’s efforts to consult organisations and individuals to improve their understanding of modern slavery. However, we join other voices in recognising that there are serious deficits in the drafted Bill.
The proposed Modern Slavery Bill does not adequately comprehend this reality of modern slavery as a commercial activity centred on the global sex industry and its entrepreneurs in Australia. The failure of the Bill’s provisions to mention commercial sexual exploitation as a recognised hot-spot of modern slavery, and to enact special provision against Australian businesses that promote, participate in, or oversee activities relating to the sex industry, renders it legally ineffective against a major form of human servitude, and, in fact, the form of servitude that arguably establishes a blueprint for all other forms of slavery.Read more
On 2 December 2015, the Joint Committee on Law Enforcement initiated an inquiry into human trafficking.
This inquiry lapsed at the end of the 44th Parliament.
On 12 October the committee re-initiated this inquiry in the 45th Parliament.
All correspondence and evidence previously received for this inquiry has been made available to the new committee. This means that submissions already provided to the committee about this issue do not need to be re-submitted.
The committee intends to refer to the evidence received during the 44th Parliament, in addition to any new evidence received.Read more