Entertainment & Arts

British film censor adjusts sex and violence policy

Film reel
Image caption The BBFC may intervene if scenes are deemed so degrading they pose a risk of harm

The British Board of Film Classification is to adjust its policy on depiction of sexual and sadistic violence in six weeks' time after research revealed there was public concern over their depiction.

Revamped guidelines will help examiners classify depictions of rape, sexual assault and sadistic violence in films.

David Cooke, director of the BBFC said that applying "mitigating factors is helpful" to make a decision which "balances freedom of expression against public protection".

The BBFC is the independent company responsible for age ratings on films, videos, DVDs and certain video games, advertisements and trailers.

Public opinion

Examiners may intervene if scenes are deemed so degrading they pose a risk of harm.

Research conducted in 2002 and again in 2012 suggested that members of the film-going public supported intervention within the adult film and video category if there is a strong case for it.

If sexual or sadistic violence is made to look appealing or suggests the victims enjoy rape or invites the viewer complicity in rape or other harmful violent activities, examiners on behalf of the BBFC can intervene and remove such scenes.

BBFC director Mr Cooke said: "There is no one size fits all rule for any theme under the BBFC classification guidelines, as long as what is depicted is within the law and does not pose a harm risk.

"Once again the public have told us that context, tone and impact, and a works over all message, can aggravate a theme, or make it acceptable, even in cases of sexual and sadistic violence."

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