Consent and the 2003 Sexual Offences Act

 

 

The 2003 Sexual Offences act contains, alongside its important provisions against rape and sexual assault, several more worrying provisions that restrict consensual sexual activity.  Putting aside the obviously contentious question of what exactly the age of consent should be – (perhaps the best option is a flexible limit, set nominally at sixteen but allowing for the law to take seriously the views of the crime's purported victim, whatever their age might be, on a case by case basis) – there are a number of troubling inconsistencies in that concept's application, where the law chooses to ignore the free agency of a person that it elsewhere accepts.

   I have in mind three supposed offences that are dealt with in the act: abuse of position of trust, familial child sex offences, and sex with an adult relative. First, positions of trust. There can be no doubt that, where one person is in a position of trust over another, the relationship between the two is complicated immensely. The relationship between a sixteen year old girl and her teacher could never be the same as the relationship between that girl and a different man of the same age. Having said this, however, it is vital we remember that attempting to cut through these complications by the power of the law and of the state is a very dangerous idea.  We are talking about the fine nuances of emotion and of power in the interaction of two human beings.  The law is a bluntforce weapon of last resort, and should be kept as such.  There are already plentiful provisions in the act against sexual abuse – if abuse exists, those may be invoked, but if not, then it is the prerogative of individuals and citizens to determine their own lives and the courses of their relationships. 

     There is another possible reading of the 'breach of trust' offence, focusing not so much on any harm to the child under trust but rather on the adult's lack of responsibility towards the trust itself. Trust is breached when sexual activity occurs, and that in itself is enough to warrant legal repercussions.  But why should this be so? Anyone in a position of trust over a child has a duty of care towards them, as well as a duty to do well what ever it is they are supposed to be doing – teaching or medical practiciong or whatever.  How sexual activity is supposed to breach these duties is far from clear.  Consensual sex is consensual sex, and it is a breach of a human freedom to outlaw it, positions of trust or no. 

Much the same applies to familial child sex offences. Yes, it is a far from ordinary relationship for a child of consenting, and it poses its own difficulties. But it is best for people to deal with such difficulties either alone or with others, and without the interference of the law unless it is absolutely required.  The only other objection to these 'offences', if they are committed against children of consenting age – and the only objection whatsoever to the sex with adult relatives offence – is simply that such sexual activity is incest, and that incest is Very Wrong and Icky. This is not a reasonable excuse for the exercise of power over any member of a civilised community, against their will.

 

 

 

 

Why is this idea important?

 

 

The 2003 Sexual Offences act contains, alongside its important provisions against rape and sexual assault, several more worrying provisions that restrict consensual sexual activity.  Putting aside the obviously contentious question of what exactly the age of consent should be – (perhaps the best option is a flexible limit, set nominally at sixteen but allowing for the law to take seriously the views of the crime's purported victim, whatever their age might be, on a case by case basis) – there are a number of troubling inconsistencies in that concept's application, where the law chooses to ignore the free agency of a person that it elsewhere accepts.

   I have in mind three supposed offences that are dealt with in the act: abuse of position of trust, familial child sex offences, and sex with an adult relative. First, positions of trust. There can be no doubt that, where one person is in a position of trust over another, the relationship between the two is complicated immensely. The relationship between a sixteen year old girl and her teacher could never be the same as the relationship between that girl and a different man of the same age. Having said this, however, it is vital we remember that attempting to cut through these complications by the power of the law and of the state is a very dangerous idea.  We are talking about the fine nuances of emotion and of power in the interaction of two human beings.  The law is a bluntforce weapon of last resort, and should be kept as such.  There are already plentiful provisions in the act against sexual abuse – if abuse exists, those may be invoked, but if not, then it is the prerogative of individuals and citizens to determine their own lives and the courses of their relationships. 

     There is another possible reading of the 'breach of trust' offence, focusing not so much on any harm to the child under trust but rather on the adult's lack of responsibility towards the trust itself. Trust is breached when sexual activity occurs, and that in itself is enough to warrant legal repercussions.  But why should this be so? Anyone in a position of trust over a child has a duty of care towards them, as well as a duty to do well what ever it is they are supposed to be doing – teaching or medical practiciong or whatever.  How sexual activity is supposed to breach these duties is far from clear.  Consensual sex is consensual sex, and it is a breach of a human freedom to outlaw it, positions of trust or no. 

Much the same applies to familial child sex offences. Yes, it is a far from ordinary relationship for a child of consenting, and it poses its own difficulties. But it is best for people to deal with such difficulties either alone or with others, and without the interference of the law unless it is absolutely required.  The only other objection to these 'offences', if they are committed against children of consenting age – and the only objection whatsoever to the sex with adult relatives offence – is simply that such sexual activity is incest, and that incest is Very Wrong and Icky. This is not a reasonable excuse for the exercise of power over any member of a civilised community, against their will.

 

 

 

 

Ban all laws controlling the sexual activities of consenting adults

There are dozens of laws which prohibit the sexual activities of consenting adults, from the Disorderly Houses acts of 1781 through to the law banning the downloading of extreme pornography of 2009. These are often contradictory and confusing and many rarely enforced. However, they instil fear in people so that they are afraid to do the things they fancy doing.

It is said that controlling people's sexuality is the best way to keep society in control by the government.

Many people are ignorant of the law. For example, many people think prostitution is illegal so they don't use the services of sex workers even when they badly need such services.

Disabled people are often banned from having any sexual activity because of the same kind of ignorance.

Why is this idea important?

There are dozens of laws which prohibit the sexual activities of consenting adults, from the Disorderly Houses acts of 1781 through to the law banning the downloading of extreme pornography of 2009. These are often contradictory and confusing and many rarely enforced. However, they instil fear in people so that they are afraid to do the things they fancy doing.

It is said that controlling people's sexuality is the best way to keep society in control by the government.

Many people are ignorant of the law. For example, many people think prostitution is illegal so they don't use the services of sex workers even when they badly need such services.

Disabled people are often banned from having any sexual activity because of the same kind of ignorance.

Remove the laws which endanger women who work as sex workers

The majority of sex workers in this country work legally and of their own volition.  They don't take drugs any more than the rest of society.  Street workers are the exception, but must not be seen as the norm for prostitution.  Most sex workers work discretely from their own homes, rented flats, as call girls or in illegal brothels.  Many work independently and some use the services of agencies to take their bookings.  The law though discriminates against them.  They are not allowed to share premises.  As soon as they share a premise, one of the them is now a brothel owner and is liable for imprisonment of up to 7 years, and all her earnings are confiscated. Using the services of an agency is also fraught.  An agency is operating in a grey area of the law, and thus encourages criminals to operate and high markup rates.

What other job in this country encourages people to work on their own?  Working together, so there are several people on the same premises ensures greater safety, from robbery, from injury and from the occasional bad client  Working together helps companionship, conversation and sharing of problems.  Working in a flat on your own is boring and tiring, do not believe those quotes which say a women will see 20 men in a day, normally they are lucky to see 2 or 3 in a day. 

The law at present  forces women to work on their own, making their life insular and dangerous.  Those illegal brothels and flats that do operate are targets of violent criminals.  Criminals know that there is little chance the crime will be reported to the police.  Reporting the violent crime will invariably shut the brothel down, and prosecution against the leaseholder of the flat will follow.  There is a pending case in Surrey where the brothel owner reported a violent crime where the sex worker was threatened and petrol was poured throught the flat. The owner, she has now been charged, while the criminals have never been charged.

Lets take an example in the United Kingdom and compare two cities near each other, Edingburgh and Glasgow.  Edinburgh tolerates prostitution, it occurs throughout the city in  discrete Saunas, the police check these on a regular basis, they are clean and well run.  The council earn large licence fees from these saunas, and the Inland Revenue earn VAT and income tax.  There is little street prostitution in Edinburgh, and little violence against sex workers.  Compare that with Glasgow where prostitution is not tolerated, brothels are closed down, women working from hotels are harassed.  There is  a far larger street prostitution problem in Glasgow than in Edinburgh, and there is far more violence against sex workers in that city with at least a death every year.

Closing down brothels also causes some displacement of brothel workers back onto the street.  An example was in Soho. The police closed two independent ‘walk-up’ flats used by prostitutes, asserting drug dealing and a violent incident in the hallway, though with no allegation that these were connected with the prostitutes. No convincing evidence was presented and the women, with substantial support from the community, successfully opposed the closure order in court, though not before at least one of them had tried the more dangerous occupation of streetwalking around Kings Cross.

Why is this idea important?

The majority of sex workers in this country work legally and of their own volition.  They don't take drugs any more than the rest of society.  Street workers are the exception, but must not be seen as the norm for prostitution.  Most sex workers work discretely from their own homes, rented flats, as call girls or in illegal brothels.  Many work independently and some use the services of agencies to take their bookings.  The law though discriminates against them.  They are not allowed to share premises.  As soon as they share a premise, one of the them is now a brothel owner and is liable for imprisonment of up to 7 years, and all her earnings are confiscated. Using the services of an agency is also fraught.  An agency is operating in a grey area of the law, and thus encourages criminals to operate and high markup rates.

What other job in this country encourages people to work on their own?  Working together, so there are several people on the same premises ensures greater safety, from robbery, from injury and from the occasional bad client  Working together helps companionship, conversation and sharing of problems.  Working in a flat on your own is boring and tiring, do not believe those quotes which say a women will see 20 men in a day, normally they are lucky to see 2 or 3 in a day. 

The law at present  forces women to work on their own, making their life insular and dangerous.  Those illegal brothels and flats that do operate are targets of violent criminals.  Criminals know that there is little chance the crime will be reported to the police.  Reporting the violent crime will invariably shut the brothel down, and prosecution against the leaseholder of the flat will follow.  There is a pending case in Surrey where the brothel owner reported a violent crime where the sex worker was threatened and petrol was poured throught the flat. The owner, she has now been charged, while the criminals have never been charged.

Lets take an example in the United Kingdom and compare two cities near each other, Edingburgh and Glasgow.  Edinburgh tolerates prostitution, it occurs throughout the city in  discrete Saunas, the police check these on a regular basis, they are clean and well run.  The council earn large licence fees from these saunas, and the Inland Revenue earn VAT and income tax.  There is little street prostitution in Edinburgh, and little violence against sex workers.  Compare that with Glasgow where prostitution is not tolerated, brothels are closed down, women working from hotels are harassed.  There is  a far larger street prostitution problem in Glasgow than in Edinburgh, and there is far more violence against sex workers in that city with at least a death every year.

Closing down brothels also causes some displacement of brothel workers back onto the street.  An example was in Soho. The police closed two independent ‘walk-up’ flats used by prostitutes, asserting drug dealing and a violent incident in the hallway, though with no allegation that these were connected with the prostitutes. No convincing evidence was presented and the women, with substantial support from the community, successfully opposed the closure order in court, though not before at least one of them had tried the more dangerous occupation of streetwalking around Kings Cross.

Removal of the requirement of 2 doctor’s signatures before having an abortion

Currently, a woman has to obtain the signatures of 2 doctors before she is permitted to have an abortion. This is suggesting that a woman cannot possibly be capable of making an informed decision on abortion. A women should be able to have an abortion with the consent of 1 doctor only.

Why is this idea important?

Currently, a woman has to obtain the signatures of 2 doctors before she is permitted to have an abortion. This is suggesting that a woman cannot possibly be capable of making an informed decision on abortion. A women should be able to have an abortion with the consent of 1 doctor only.

Unnecessary laws relating to prostitution

The laws relating to prostitution enacted just before the election should be repealed and laws should be passed to allow two ladies to work together as had been originally suggested by the last government and for brothels to be allowed to operate legally licensed by local councils as they do in Edinburgh

Why is this idea important?

The laws relating to prostitution enacted just before the election should be repealed and laws should be passed to allow two ladies to work together as had been originally suggested by the last government and for brothels to be allowed to operate legally licensed by local councils as they do in Edinburgh

Repeal laws on drawn pornography

Repeal the laws on drawn pornography as it is a victimless crime.

The government only this year had the absurd idea that drawings can be underage, now the criminal justice system will not only have to waste money enforcing this law but also discuss whether a drawing is sexually explicit.

These laws not only restricts freedom of expression by many artists but it also means a step toward the government dictating the sexual practices of the general public.

Why is this idea important?

Repeal the laws on drawn pornography as it is a victimless crime.

The government only this year had the absurd idea that drawings can be underage, now the criminal justice system will not only have to waste money enforcing this law but also discuss whether a drawing is sexually explicit.

These laws not only restricts freedom of expression by many artists but it also means a step toward the government dictating the sexual practices of the general public.

Change Section 63 of Criminal Justice Act

In the current climate our sexual freedom is under attack as never before. Successive pieces of the previous Government's legislation have succeeded in criminalising the normal sexual activity of hundreds of thousands of adult citizens based on flimsy evidence and a general feeling of distaste.

It is widely agreed and accepted that consenting activities between adults are just that, and that it is not the business of the state to legislate on grounds of taste. The freedom to express oneself sexually without fear of prejudice is a basic civil liberty.

Why is this idea important?

In the current climate our sexual freedom is under attack as never before. Successive pieces of the previous Government's legislation have succeeded in criminalising the normal sexual activity of hundreds of thousands of adult citizens based on flimsy evidence and a general feeling of distaste.

It is widely agreed and accepted that consenting activities between adults are just that, and that it is not the business of the state to legislate on grounds of taste. The freedom to express oneself sexually without fear of prejudice is a basic civil liberty.

Repeal Section 63 of the CJIA 2008 (“extreme porn”)

To repeal the possession of "extreme pornography" section (63) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. This makes it illegal to possess staged or faked images if they're judged to be pornographic. This means people have to guess whether a clip on their phone or computer, for instance, is extreme and whether it is pornographic. The law says that possession of some erotic clips taken from BBFC certified films can be illegal, because they're out of context.

Why is this idea important?

To repeal the possession of "extreme pornography" section (63) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. This makes it illegal to possess staged or faked images if they're judged to be pornographic. This means people have to guess whether a clip on their phone or computer, for instance, is extreme and whether it is pornographic. The law says that possession of some erotic clips taken from BBFC certified films can be illegal, because they're out of context.

Prostitution

The current law which allows prostitutes to sell sex but not to work in brothels is postiviely dangerous and forces women onto the streets.  The buying and selling of sex should be completely legal and there should be liscences brothels set up with Health checks for sex workers. There should be increased stringency against sex worker trafficking and forced sex work.

Why is this idea important?

The current law which allows prostitutes to sell sex but not to work in brothels is postiviely dangerous and forces women onto the streets.  The buying and selling of sex should be completely legal and there should be liscences brothels set up with Health checks for sex workers. There should be increased stringency against sex worker trafficking and forced sex work.

Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

This law is unessessary – we already have laws to prevent people committing acts of sexual violence towards others.  This law prevents people making or viewing a record of acts which occur between consenting adults. 

Why is this idea important?

This law is unessessary – we already have laws to prevent people committing acts of sexual violence towards others.  This law prevents people making or viewing a record of acts which occur between consenting adults.