SFC Response to the Home Office's
Sexual Offences Bill
and 'Protecting the Public'
"Protecting the Public"
Sentencing and Offences Unit
Room 314, The Home Office
50 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AT
14th Januaruy 2003
Dear Sentencing and Offences Unit,
The Sexual Freedom Coalition has discussed your document Protecting the Public and have the following comments:
David Blunkett's Forward, paragraph 6 refers to
... access to degrading material being easily available...
We presume he is refering to pornography, especially on the Internet. Many people enjoy pornography and do not find it degrading. Some use it as their only sexual outlet. Statements such as this only serve to make members of the public guilty about using pornography for masturbation. Guilt leads to repression which itself leads to sex crimes. The recent exposé of Roman Catholic priests involved in paedophilia is a prime example. In other words, Mr Blunkett's own language can be responsible for the very crimes which you aim to stop.
Your document speaks about education on several occasions. The SFC feels this is more important than having new legislation. However, we feel that if the educators had the same attitude to sex as is contained in your document, such education would be counterproductive. For one thing, the people you are trying to educate would laugh. You cannot educate people if they do not respect you.
- Item 15 Lots of people enjoy sex in the open air and it should never become illegal to have sex in a public place, otherwise you are discriminating against people who have small gardens or no garden at all. Homophobic people who complain they are offended by seeing gay sex should learn to look away rather than spoil their fun. Otherwise they should be prosecuted for discriminating against homosexuality, rather than the gay frollickers being prosecuted for enjoying themselves.
- Item 72 The SFC believes that the laws surrounding prostitution should be abolished so that prostitutes can run their businesses like other citizens, and the trade will not attract the criminal element.
- Item 74 Sex Workers do not need policing. They should be able to count on police protection as much as anybody else (or more than anybody else, since they are more vulnerable than anybody else -- look at violence and murder statistics).
- Item 75 end of paragraph says "prevent it happening". Does this mean you think you are going to put an end to the world's oldest profession through local projects? Kindly accept the fact that many prostitutes enjoy their work and trying to put an end to their line of business is discriminatory.
- Item 77 This would making dogging illegal. Dogging is a popular, ancient tradition of anonymous sexual fun, with exhibitionists performing to voyeurs in car parks, woods, sand dunes, etc. It would also criminalise the gay equivants.
It could also make it illegal to shag or have oral sex in a nightclub which was not a private / members-only club. Most people have probably done this, or at least got close at some time in their lives. Gay clubs would go broke if they forbade sex, and it.s difficult to run a swing club if you don.t allow your guests the chance to sample each other. So we think you should be extremely careful with your wording, defining what you mean by public, and preferably leave public sex out of this new legislation altogether.
You speak of helping people live outside fear of sexual crime, but unless people are educated so they have the confidence talk about sex as it is, in its raw and often fantastical forms, sex crimes will always be shrouded in secrecy and justice will never be done.
Dr Tuppy Owens
of behalf of the Sexual Freedom Coalition
See also on the Home Office's Web site: