Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence symposium explores the “new normal”

Sexual Assault Services Victoria

Pornography, strangulation, deep fakes and sextortion.

The links between technology, pornography and sexual violence will be explored by leading researchers and practitioners from the UK and Australia at Responding to the New Normal: A technology facilitated sexual violence symposium in Melbourne Friday, April 19.

The sold-out event is hosted by Sexual Assault Services Victoria (SASVic) the peak body for Victoria’s 18 Sexual Assault Services who work with around 20,000 victims of sexual assault across Victoria each year.

On the agenda: women’s relationship with pornography, sextortion, how pornography shapes gender norms, AI-created deepfakes, the impact of pornography on young people, the rise of non-fatal strangulation, coercive control and more.

The murder of 28 women in Australia so far in 2024 make these issues more urgent than ever.

Speakers include UK academic from London Metropolitan University and author of Women On Porn: One Hundred Stories, One Vital Conversation, Dr Fiona Vera-Gray. Australian experts include Professor Michael Salter from UNSW and Jackie Bateman Director Client Services Kids First Australia.

“SASVic members are seeing the influence of pornography across a spectrum of clients from children and young people to adult victim survivors”, says SASVic’s CEO Kathleen Maltzahn.

“While we wait for a sexual violence strategy and action from the government in Victoria, the wide-spread and changing nature of technology is impacting on sexual violence and how we respond. This event, bringing together leading national and international researchers, policy makers and community-based support services to find solutions, is essential.”

Dr Fiona Vera-Gray

Fiona is one of the UK’s leading feminist academics working on sexual violence and Deputy Director of the Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University. She will share the findings from her new book, Women on Porn: One Hundred Stories. One vital conversation, published by Penguin.

While in Australia, Dr Vera-Gray will be running a 6-day intensive short course with professionals working in the sexual assault sector covering topics such as sexual violence, child sexual abuse, intersectional framings and feminist theory.

Professor Michael Salter & Dr Delanie Woodlock

Michael is a Professor at UNSW and an expert in child sexual exploitation and gendered violence and Delanie is a Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation and a feminist researcher with a focus on understanding and preventing men’s violence against women and children.

Jackie Bateman

Jackie is an experienced leader of people and practice, a practitioner, consultant and trainer, with specialist expertise in working with children and young people who have displayed harmful sexual behaviour, using strength-based models and practices. She will be joining us to discuss the impact of pornography on children and young people.

Responding to the New Normal: A symposium on technology-facilitated sexual violence

Friday April 19. 10am to 4.30. Storey Hall, RMIT, Building 16, 336/348 Swanston St, Melbourne

/Public Release.