National Profile: Britain

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The United Kingdom (incorporating England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) maintains strict taboos and laws against most forms of sexual intimacy involving minors and adults, putting it among the worst of the notoriously hysterical English-speaking nations. An unhealthy diet of sensationalistic tabloid news material (even from powerful national institutions such as the BBC) has lead most citizens to express a strong distaste for anyone expressing an attraction to children below the Age of Consent.

There is a strong lobby for the rationalisation of these beliefs with "professional" models of victimology, advocacy and intervention. Ideological dissent is thin on the ground, and restricted to individual writers who tend to focus on one topic to maintain credibility.

State structure

Government

Home Office

The Home Office is the government department that is responsible for policy making and executive functions (day to day running of the country) in areas of crime, security and moral order. In recent years, the Home Secretary (Minister responsible for this office) and other affiliated ministers have shown an inclination towards "tough talk" on the issue of sex offenders. A number of laws have been passed to this effect - often focussing on topics brought to light by recent tabloid news scares. In addition to the self-serving nature of such scares, these agendas have been increasingly pursued in order to distract from internal failings and international affairs.

At the next General Election (due on or before 3 June 2010), power is almost certainly going to be taken by the Conservative Party. The effects of this on Home Office policy cannot be easily predicted.

Police

CEOP | Paedophile Online Investigation Team | VGT | IWF | Paedophile Unit | CAIU

Notable groups

Establishment

NSPCC | Kidscape | Lucy Faithfull Foundation | Ecpat (UK) | Stop the Traffik

Dissenters

Inquisition 21

Notable public figures

Establishment

Esther Rantzen | Michele Elliot | Dr Tanya Byron | Carol Vorderman | Sara Payne | Marilyn Hawes | Jim Gamble

Dissenters

Frank Furedi | Brian Rothery | Richard Yuill

Media powers

Establishment

BBC | ITV | Rupert Murdoch: SkyNews, The Sun/News of the World | Daily Mail, Express | Daily Mirror | Daily Telegraph | Times | Guardian/Observer

Dissenters

Spiked Online | The Register

Law

The age of consent for all sexual relations is set at 16, with few exceptions (for example, 17 in Northern Ireland and 18 in the case of relationships where the older partner is in a position of authority).

The Government has enacted tough legislation against Sex Tourism, meaning that any act that is illegal within the UK can be prosecuted if committed abroad.

Laws against "Indecent images of children" are among the strictest in the world, and are enforced with a zeal approaching that of the US.

Sentences are not as harsh as those seen in the US, and this is unlikely to change until more prisons are built.

Restrictions on sex offenders are strong. There is an SOR, and emphasis on limiting the travel of those required to sign it. The UK is without doubt a Carceral State when it comes to sex offenders.

Relevant legal documents

Protection of Children Act (1978) | Sexual Offences Act (2003)‎ | Criminal Justice and Immigration Act

Public Conscience

A number of well-publicised cases play on the public conscience. These tend to be more extreme when compared to other countries. The examples are nevertheless constructed by the media as examples of Paedophilia.

Soham Murders | Sarah Payne's Murder | Gary Glitter

External link

Growing Up Sexually - GB