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Bishops condemn exposing children to pornography

Bishop Peter A Comensoli

Acting chair of The Bishops’ Commission for Family, Youth and Life (BCFYL), Bishop Peter Comensoli.

AUSTRALIA’S Catholic bishops have called pornography exposure among children “a form of abuse” in a submission published by a Senate inquiry last week.
The Bishops’ Commission for Family, Youth and Life of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference made a submission to a Senate inquiry into the harm done to children through online pornography.
The submission said children “have a right to be children” away from harms “inflicted on them by being exposed to pornography”.
BCFYL acting chair Bishop Peter Comensoli said the inquiry was important because “it focuses on the harm done to some of the most vulnerable people in our community”.
“Allowing children to be exposed to pornography is a form of abuse,” Bishop Comensoli said.
“The Church has its own shameful history of child abuse and, particularly because of that terrible experience for victims, does not want to see other forms of abuse of children such as the harms from the increased availability of pornography.”
The submission refers to studies that show children are increasingly at risk of pornography exposure, including a 2012 Australian study that found more than 40 per cent of children first saw pornography between the ages of 11 and 13.
“There is clear evidence of the harm that pornography can inflict on children, with those kids who have seen it more likely to regard women as sex objects, agree with sex before marriage, have sex before their peers do, adopt risky sexual behaviour that may lead to pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease and molest other children,” Bishop Comensoli said.
“This is compelling evidence of the need for the Australian community to act to save children from this harm, but also to save the broader community from the harms of adults damaged in their childhood.”
About 129 submissions were sent to the Senate inquiry, which is set to make a full report by December 1.

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