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Blunkett, Guardian of Sexual Freedoms - Grin with cat attached
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Blunkett, Guardian of Sexual Freedoms Nov. 19th, 2002 04:46 pm
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/homeaffairs/story/0,11026,843355,00.html

From: djm4
Date: November 19th, 2002 - 09:26 am (Link)
Something about:

A new offence of "grooming" children for sex abuse - previously only thought to apply to adults who lure youngsters on the internet - will be applied to every aspect of life, not just online, and will carry a maximum five- year penalty.

bothers me. Hmm ... let me think about what it is for a moment.

Oh yes, it's the fact that it's an accusation that it would be almost impossible to defend against. I mean, how do you prove you aren't grooming a child for sex abuse? This looks like a law that will lock people up before they've done anything wrong, merely on the suspicion that they might do at some point in the future, and such laws are wide open to abuse.

But who's going to care about miscarriages of justice against suspected paedophiles? No, I doubt there's going to be any serious opposition to this one. Even Simon Hughes likes it (and, to be fair, there's a lot to like, but the 'grooming' offence gives me a cold, shivery feeling in the civil rights area).
From: ergotia
Date: November 19th, 2002 - 12:57 pm (Link)
Absolutely! What about those vile Fist Communion mini wedding dresses for seven year olds? Grooming for sex in every sense.
From: ciphergoth
Date: November 20th, 2002 - 02:38 am (Link)
Fist Communion

- a vivid mental image!

Re:

From: ergotia
Date: November 20th, 2002 - 07:08 am (Link)
Ooops! A classic Freudian slip I fear - and probably enough to get me arrested :(
From: wechsler
Date: November 20th, 2002 - 07:30 am (Link)
On "suspicion of Not Being David FuckwitBlunkett", I assume.
From: dennyd
Date: November 19th, 2002 - 09:49 am (Link)
the sex offenders register will be tightened to include those convicted of violent offences thought at risk of committing a sexual offence

"thought at risk" by who? That worries me for similar reasons to the comments above about the 'grooming' offence - it's another case of 'guilty unless proven innocent', a principle which seems to be enshrined in a few of the bits of legislation that our government has put in place lately.

He announced a review of prostitution in a bid to stamp out the "mafia-style criminality," which often bedevilled "this terrible trade".

It's entirely possible that it wouldn't be a "terrible trade" if the workers in it had legal recognition and protection (and indeed obligations - just like any other professional).

"...we now live in a world of global communications, with children two clicks away from internet porn sites..."

I bet he researched that bit very thoroughly ;)

an end to anonymity for rape defendants.

That's going to cost lives.
From: feanelwa
Date: November 19th, 2002 - 09:49 am (Link)
This is going to sound silly, but i misread the sentence
"Children are two clicks away from internet porn sites"
as
"Chickens are two clucks away from internet porn sites"
in my exhausted Tuesday afternoon state.

Now i've heard about the advancement of voice activation software, but that's just silly...

Many a true word...

From: wechsler
Date: November 19th, 2002 - 09:57 am (Link)
From: please_sir
Date: November 19th, 2002 - 10:33 am (Link)
an end to anonymity for rape defendants.

I think the main things this wwould achieve are:

Allowing the tabloids to write a load of bullshit about it, making it harder for justice to happen or for anyone involved to have privacy.

Encoraging members of the public to take the law into their own hands.

And the whole thing about "grooming"- what a load of crap. As far as I can tell, "grooming" means getting close to a kid and teaching them to trust you (so that you can abuse them)- exactly what you'd want to be encoraging people to do with children, except without the ulterior motive. Its going to be pretty much impossible to prove or disprove what the person's motive is. Its going to be all speculation and circumstantial evidence trying to prove someone is "grooming" a child. And even if they were.. at that point the child has known no harm. How bad is it going to make the child feel if the person they liked and trusted got into trouble for being their friend? And to have it explained to them that the person was planning to abuse them at any minute. If it is suspected that something like this is going on, the parents or social services, can prevent the potential abuser from seeing the child. Thats bad enough, in a way (If the person is in fact innocent of any abusive intent) I cant see what good will be achieved through making the adult subject to criminal prosecution.
From: adjectivemarcus
Date: November 20th, 2002 - 02:14 am (Link)
On the news yesterday the two phrases about the grooming that stuck with me were:

"Of course, the internet will be the place that's easiest to police"

and

"If an uncle gives a child an ice-cream that's ok, but people have to consider at what point the ice cream becomes sinister"

having read the paper this morning...

From: thekumquat
Date: November 20th, 2002 - 04:17 am (Link)
... the grooming offence sounds more specific. Examples of behaviour that would count would be sending sexually-explicit emails to children, looking at pornography with them, telling them that to ahve sex with adults was a good/educational thing, etc.

Which sounds about right. And quite a relief.

Re: having read the paper this morning...

From: wechsler
Date: November 20th, 2002 - 04:37 am (Link)
Will that be written into the law, or has Blunkett just "assured" us that that is how it will be used?

Re: having read the paper this morning...

From: thekumquat
Date: November 20th, 2002 - 07:28 am (Link)
It's what it said in the Guardian, and the leader said it was one of the best thought-out Bills for a long time. The Indy said the 'grooming' bit would cover 'asking a child to take their clothes off under the guise of 'modelling'', which again sounds specific and at the moment I don't think that would be illegal [not that I have any legal knowledge].

Will have a look for the text of the Bill on the net if I have time.