Films to have new stricter classifications to reflect changing views on sexual violence

Films to have new stricter classifications to reflect changing views on sexual violence

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Films are set to have stricter classifications in order to reflect the public’s view on sex and violence.

Research by the British Board of Film Classification found that young people were particularly concerned by portrayals of discrimination, terrorism and suicide.

Young people were most disturbed by “credible real-life scenarios”, with 95% of teenagers calling for stricter classification on sex and sexual violence.

Under the new rules, any depictions of rape would be banned from films for those under 15, and graphic sexual violence, rape and the "language of pornography" would be rated 18.

Craig Lapper, Head of Compliance at the BBFC said it was the board’s responsibility to “reflect the concerns of the public”.

He told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “[Classifications] serve a dual purpose. It gives parents a guide about the kind of things that they might expect to find in film and video content so that they can place any restrictions on children’s viewing that they think is appropriate.

“It is also partly helpful to audiences, including teen audiences, in terms of knowing what they will encounter.

“A key part of what we do is not simply just providing the age ratings and telling people that they have to be a certain age to watch it but also providing information for people that they can trust and understand.”


'Too much too early' 



Watch: BBFC's Craig Lapper discussing the new classifications with Matthew Wright. 

He added that parents are becoming concerned with how “wide-spread” and “easily-available” pornography has become and its impact on films.

“I think it is that pornography has become so wide-spread and easily available, with so little control over it – either in terms of the content or who can access it,” he said.

“There is an increase in feeling that it is having an impact on mainstream media and we are finding that films are more likely to borrow things from pornography.

“Parents are worried that children are being exposed to a little too much too early just because of the easy availability of pornography.”

The research also found that 97% of people wanted similar ratings for online content, such as Netflix and Amazon, which are not currently obligated to enforce ratings.

Mr Lapper said these companies were “keen” to work with the BBFC so that their audiences did not get “nasty surprises”.

“They are keen to work with us because it is not in their interest for people to be viewing stuff that is going to upset them or that they are going to complain about,” he said.

“It is very useful for the likes of Netflix and Amazon to work with us to provide content advice so that people do not get nasty surprises.”

The new BBFC guidelines will come into effect on February 28.