Repeal the age of consent for sex

I propose we repeal the sexual age of consent, replacing it with existing rape laws and a new system of 'relationship assessment', whereby all sex involving persons aged 13-18 will be illegal if deemed coercive or harmful by a court.

Why is this idea important?

I propose we repeal the sexual age of consent, replacing it with existing rape laws and a new system of 'relationship assessment', whereby all sex involving persons aged 13-18 will be illegal if deemed coercive or harmful by a court.

Revert to the Protection of Children Act 1978

Over recent years we have seen the definition of 'child pornography' stretched beyond all credibility. The 1978 Protection of Children Act made the simple possession of indecent images illegal, where to be indecent the image had to:

1. Depict an actual person younger than the age of consent (then, and still, 16 years of age)

2. Depict them in a sexual context (that is, the material was produced for the purposes of arousal and is thus 'pornographic')

This was a simple and clear definition. You could easily know what was legal and what was not. Any person old enough to consent to sex could be photographed without danger of being caught by the Act. Simple child nudity of the sort that might appear in holiday photos or family photos of very young children was excluded.

The Act did precisely what it set out to do – protected children. By allowing police to arrest individuals for possession of actual child abuse images, it made it possible for them to target those who produced and supported the production of such material.

Since the 1978 Act, we have had a slew of amendments and new legislation that:

1. Created the notion of the pseudo-image. This is an image which is doctored in some way to make it appear to be an indecent image of a child when in fact it wasn't.

2. Criminialised material where the person depicted looks like (or could be interpreted to look like) a child. An image of a 20-something porn star dressed in a schoolgirl outfit and acting young could be considered child pornography depending on the context.

3. Changed the definition of 'child' to include persons over the age of consent but under 18, thus creating a legal anomaly where a person may legally consent to sex but cannot be photographed doing so, and retrospectively criminalising previously legal material including back-copies of newspapers and top-shelf magazines that featured 16 and 17-year old models.

4. Changed the interpretation of 'indecent' to include simple nudity or even 'provocative poses' by fully-clothed subjects, thus making innocent family pictures potential 'child pornography'.

5. Allowed material depicting imaginary characters – computer-generated or cartoon – who were (or might be construed to be) underage to be prosecuted as 'child pornography'.

6. Most recently, attempting to make written material simply describing any of the above equivalent to 'child pornography'.

Even the most cursory consideration of these changes will reveal that the clear intent of these changes to the law is to outlaw any material which pedophiles – or 'potential' pedophiles – might possibly find arousing. If you follow this route to its logical conclusion you ought to make any photograph or description of a child illegal, and lock all children away from public view lest someone become aroused at the sight of them.

This single-minded witch-hunting of the unseen but ever-threatening pedo-under-the-bed does not make children safer. Indeed, most of the changes have been made to permit the prosecution of individuals who have not harmed children at all. Its purpose is clear – it is thoughtcrime legislation, designed to satisy the baying calls of the gutter press and to keep CEOP and similar agencies in business.

It is now effectively impossible to know if a particular image is illegal or not. There is no safe standard. A picture of a fully-clothed adult may be child porn if they happen to be dressed and posed in a particular way. Offences being now largely based on 'context' mean that until it goes before a jury, you cannot be sure you're safe. People are being sent to jail as pedophiles for 'offences' which, only a few years ago, would have been laughable and which most certainly have not involved any actual children coming to harm.

My proposal is simple. Repeal and amend the various acts as necessary to return the definition of child pornography to that of the 1978 Protection of Children Act, and let the police get on with the business of actually protecting children and catching child abusers.

Why is this idea important?

Over recent years we have seen the definition of 'child pornography' stretched beyond all credibility. The 1978 Protection of Children Act made the simple possession of indecent images illegal, where to be indecent the image had to:

1. Depict an actual person younger than the age of consent (then, and still, 16 years of age)

2. Depict them in a sexual context (that is, the material was produced for the purposes of arousal and is thus 'pornographic')

This was a simple and clear definition. You could easily know what was legal and what was not. Any person old enough to consent to sex could be photographed without danger of being caught by the Act. Simple child nudity of the sort that might appear in holiday photos or family photos of very young children was excluded.

The Act did precisely what it set out to do – protected children. By allowing police to arrest individuals for possession of actual child abuse images, it made it possible for them to target those who produced and supported the production of such material.

Since the 1978 Act, we have had a slew of amendments and new legislation that:

1. Created the notion of the pseudo-image. This is an image which is doctored in some way to make it appear to be an indecent image of a child when in fact it wasn't.

2. Criminialised material where the person depicted looks like (or could be interpreted to look like) a child. An image of a 20-something porn star dressed in a schoolgirl outfit and acting young could be considered child pornography depending on the context.

3. Changed the definition of 'child' to include persons over the age of consent but under 18, thus creating a legal anomaly where a person may legally consent to sex but cannot be photographed doing so, and retrospectively criminalising previously legal material including back-copies of newspapers and top-shelf magazines that featured 16 and 17-year old models.

4. Changed the interpretation of 'indecent' to include simple nudity or even 'provocative poses' by fully-clothed subjects, thus making innocent family pictures potential 'child pornography'.

5. Allowed material depicting imaginary characters – computer-generated or cartoon – who were (or might be construed to be) underage to be prosecuted as 'child pornography'.

6. Most recently, attempting to make written material simply describing any of the above equivalent to 'child pornography'.

Even the most cursory consideration of these changes will reveal that the clear intent of these changes to the law is to outlaw any material which pedophiles – or 'potential' pedophiles – might possibly find arousing. If you follow this route to its logical conclusion you ought to make any photograph or description of a child illegal, and lock all children away from public view lest someone become aroused at the sight of them.

This single-minded witch-hunting of the unseen but ever-threatening pedo-under-the-bed does not make children safer. Indeed, most of the changes have been made to permit the prosecution of individuals who have not harmed children at all. Its purpose is clear – it is thoughtcrime legislation, designed to satisy the baying calls of the gutter press and to keep CEOP and similar agencies in business.

It is now effectively impossible to know if a particular image is illegal or not. There is no safe standard. A picture of a fully-clothed adult may be child porn if they happen to be dressed and posed in a particular way. Offences being now largely based on 'context' mean that until it goes before a jury, you cannot be sure you're safe. People are being sent to jail as pedophiles for 'offences' which, only a few years ago, would have been laughable and which most certainly have not involved any actual children coming to harm.

My proposal is simple. Repeal and amend the various acts as necessary to return the definition of child pornography to that of the 1978 Protection of Children Act, and let the police get on with the business of actually protecting children and catching child abusers.

Everything Related to ‘Sex Offending’ Requires Evidence-Based Reform

In 1997, what may have appeared to be a reasonable and beneficial idea, towards a better society, has now become a living nightmare for many individuals and families.

Since that time, mission creep, populist political posturing and law-making, along with the vested interests of the media, lobby groups and a stifling regime of policing, has led to fear, disenfranchisement and little hope towards a worthy future for these people and their families.

This, not small, group of UK citizens, some isolated and poverty-stricken for no good reason, has little real support, a limited ability to fight for their Civil and Human Rights and some, quite unacceptably, live in constant fear of attack or harassment.

So, who can these people be? Who is this sizeable, yet, apparently, invisible group? Who could be suffering so much and yet be receiving so little attention? This group of people are the so-called ‘Sex Offenders’ and their families. This group includes me.

This must end.

Why is this idea important?

In 1997, what may have appeared to be a reasonable and beneficial idea, towards a better society, has now become a living nightmare for many individuals and families.

Since that time, mission creep, populist political posturing and law-making, along with the vested interests of the media, lobby groups and a stifling regime of policing, has led to fear, disenfranchisement and little hope towards a worthy future for these people and their families.

This, not small, group of UK citizens, some isolated and poverty-stricken for no good reason, has little real support, a limited ability to fight for their Civil and Human Rights and some, quite unacceptably, live in constant fear of attack or harassment.

So, who can these people be? Who is this sizeable, yet, apparently, invisible group? Who could be suffering so much and yet be receiving so little attention? This group of people are the so-called ‘Sex Offenders’ and their families. This group includes me.

This must end.