This act was brought in at a time when even the slightest injuries could cause death through infection. In the famous "Spanner" case (R v Brown) In 1989 it was used to prosecute and imprison consenting adults because they engaged in BDSM (Bondage/Discipline/Slave/Master) sex which caused non-serious injuries.

A Law Commission Report (CONSENT IN SEX OFFENCES) recommended that the law on assault be brought up to date with new definitions of categories of assault.

The Law Commission's recommendations should be put into practice.

Why is this idea important?

A significant proportion of the UK engage in consensual sexual activities which cause some bruising or cuts. This could be spanking, flogging etc. These injuries are not serious and do not require medical attention. Yet the participants risk imprisonment.

As a consequence of the Brown ruling even causing a love bite is an illegal activity.

The injuries are slight compared to those suffered by those engaging in contact sports such as football, rugby, martial arts and boxing. Yet sports players are not prosecuted.

In a typically puritanical British way sports is seen as a "good reason" for such injuries but sexual pleasure is not.

The effect of the Spanner case is to inhibit education in the field of BDSM. Without education and open discussion people are more at risk of engaging in unsafe activities.

For more information see www.spannertrust.org

 

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