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Regulating Pornography

Over the last ten years, Professor Clare McGlynn has worked with colleagues to better regulate pornography. She has undertaken research on the content of mainstream online pornography, on how to better regulate porn companies in the EU and UK, and on the introduction of criminal legisaltion on extreme pornography.

Sexually Violent Pornography on mainstream porn websites

Professor Clare McGlynn’s most recent research on pornography investigated the content of mainstream online pornography websites, finding that 1 in 8 titles on the landing pages of the most popular porn websites describe sexually violent pornography. This research with Dr Fiona Vera-Gray and colleagues was published in the British Journal of Criminology in April 2021 and raises serious questions about the extent of criminal material freely advertised on mainstream pornography websites, the accountability of porn companies and the efficacy of current regulatory measures. The research was reported across the world, including in the Sunday Times and New York Times, as well as being debated and translated across the world. It has been cited before the Canadian and UK Parliaments. Read more about this research in this research and policy briefing and blog.

Prosecuting extreme pornography

This research builds on previous collaborations with colleagues to examine the current gaps and failures in the legal regulation of pornography, including research with Dr Hannah Bows which collected and examined new FOI data on the policing of extreme pornography.

Justifying criminal regulation of extreme pornography

These two projects build on long-standing research in this area with Professor Erika Rackley that justifies using the criminal law to criminalise the possession of extreme pornography on the basis of its cultural harm. Working closely with Members of Parliament and Members of the Scottish Parlimanet, policy-makers, charities and campaign organisations, McGlynn and Rackley supported the introduction of new laws criminalising the possession of extreme pornography, particularly pornographic images of rape.