Consenting Adult’s space: Beware the kinky porn ban!

Consenting Adult’s space: Beware the kinky porn ban! CAAN action report 22 Aug

Campaigners claim confusing new law lets abusers off the hook.

CAAN REPORT – 22nd August 2008 – Advice seeking mission 2: ACPO visit.

If you own any hardcore kinky erotica which you think could be considered
extreme, you’d better get prepared for January. On January 9th the new crime
of possessing extreme pornography is due to be enforceable – an offence for
which you can get up to three years in jail and listed on the sex offender
register for the rest of your life.

‘I live in a city where I can call the police to my neighbour being
assaulted for the tenth time by their drunken partner and police allow that
violent person to move freely and remain in a house which contains a
toddler,’ says one campaigner, ‘but where the friendly caring neighbour on
the other side could soon be put in jail for being in possession of a kinky
photo or movie of people having consensual adult fun. It seems like
misappropriated concern and resources to me, when you look at the real lives
of people on this estate.’

The Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) have been seeking practical
advice about this new law and remain concerned about the government creating
fictional sex offenders by criminalizing millions of law abiding citizens
with a newly created offence hardly anyone seems to know about. Even more
worryingly, nobody seems to be able to advise anyone about what images they
need to dispose of or not – and it’s not for want of people trying.

‘Six weeks ago CAAN took to West Midlands Police a collection of extreme
pornographic evidence which we have been collecting, submitted by members of
the public who want to know whether they can be arrested in a few months
time for owning them.’ Says campaigner Clair Lewis, ‘West Midlands CID
officers said the police said it was not an offense to own the images now
but had no information about the forthcoming ban and won’t have this
information until two weeks before it is enforceable, when they receive
their guidance from above. So, CAAN went on Friday 22nd August —–to ACPO
to ask them to scrutinise the evidence as well, because ACPO will recommend
police procedure. We want to highlight how difficult to interpret this piece
of law is when it is applied to real images of real people playing out
consensual fantasies, we think it’s obvious if you look at the evidence..’

CAAN went for an attention-grabbing flyer, with their new slogan ‘Beware the
kinky porn ban!’ and leafletted passers-by in Westminster en route to seek
advice from the Association of Chief Police Officers. Activists were
disappointed to find that staff at ACPO asked the delegation visiting to
‘leave the premises’ without even considering CAAN’s questions, or
collection of consensually made adult extreme pornographic evidence people
need advice about. ‘They never even looked at us, let alone our questions!’
said Joanie, from the CAAN delegation. ‘They just said there was no-one to
talk to us and asked us to leave the premises in an officious manner. We
have sent them a written message since to ask for an appointment but have
had no response so far. At this stage we have no idea why they won’t talk to
us at all and if they ever will.’

So for now campaigners are still left guessing whether people’s images need
to be disposed of or not and continuing to hypothesise about why this law
has come about. ‘The police struggle already to protect women who they know
are being abused and government seems to be trying to divert the attention
onto harmless consenting adults, via creating ridiculous victimless sex
offences they can actually catch people for.’ Says Lucy McAlister of CAAN,
‘This new offence is aimed at all adults who choose to create and view
extreme fantasy erotic images, whatever ‘extreme’ really means. I think it’s
an outrage for government to blame the harm some of people suffer at the
hands of abusers on consensually made extreme fantasy images.’

Clair Lewis agrees, ‘Creating unwitting, harmless scapegoats won’t protect
people from actual abuse, it just provides an excuse for abusive people.
There is no excuse for abusing anyone and most of the adult population
manages to view pornography without becoming an abuser.’ Says Clair, ‘If
there was genuine evidence to show that this new ban on extreme images would
actually lower abuse figures, or if it was targeted at violent sex offenders
or locating them, we would not be campaigning. We think the Government is
making a mistake and would like to see tolerance of consensually made adult
imagery and millions of people’s privacy to enjoy extreme erotica without
needing to take legal advice. We really need to raise awareness of this new
offence as most adults still don’t seem to know about it.’

the campaign continues…

to contact CAAN email c-a-a-n@live.co.uk

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