Any film depicting sexual violence may now be given an automatic 18 certificate by the BBFC.

The Guardian newspaper is today reporting that the UK ratings board, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), are considering giving all films that depict rape or any form of sexual violence an automatic 18 certificate. In a speech to the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), the BBFC director David Austin outlined the results of a public consultation which the BBFC carries out every 5 years.

He noted that there has been a marked increase in the number of films depicting sexual violence. Most recently these include Wind River, Don’t Breathe and the French production The Innocents. The Innocents was recently given a PG-13 rating in the US and a 15 certificate in the UK but the BBFC has indicated that such films ‘might be more appropriately restricted to 18.’

The BBFC admitted that the current 15 rating was already very strict, however, the rules may require further ‘tightening’.

The UK already has much stricter rules than the US where an R rating restricts admittance of under 17s unless they are accompanied by an adult. In the UK a 15 rating means that no one under the age of 15 can be admitted at any time. The same rules apply to 18 rated films. The closest the US has to an 18 rating is NC17 (No Children under the age of 17) although this rating is rarely seen as it is viewed as detrimental to a film’s prospective box office.

At the moment 12A films (no children under the age of 12 unless accompanied by an adult) can portray some sexual violence as long as it is ‘implied, or briefly or discreetly indicated, and its depiction must be justified by context.’ If this means that any ordinarily rated 12A film that contains even a mild for of sexual violence will automatically be given the highest BBFC rating, remains to be seen.

Source: The Guardian 22/06/2018