Child Safeguarding,  Could Do Better

Double Standards : On the uses and misuses of language

By Muncii

There is a good piece by Jo Bartosch in Spiked regarding the use of the new term ‘Minor Attracted People’ to sanitise pedophilia as just another sexuality.

“It seems that, just as fat people are now euphemistically referred to as ‘plus size’, and men in dresses have been rebranded as ‘transwomen’, child abusers are considered, by some, to be just another minority whose preferences deserve respect.”

The term has been pushed  by queer academics in the US, notably Allyn Walker whose conversation with Protasia, the very dubious organisation mentioned by Bartosch, aroused much controversy in 2021. Walker left her university (don’t worry, they was quickly snapped up by another university) and the furore died down. It seems however the term has been making inroads into  European organisations.

And, as recently reported in Mailonline, The Sun, the Telegraph and the Scottish Daily Express, among others:

‘Police Scotland slammed for describing paedophiles as ‘Minor Attracted People’ in major report, as critics warn the phrase risks normalising child abuse…’

The term was used in a document assessing the performance of Police Scotland during the last year.
The report read “ this project’s main agenda is to develop understanding and approach (sic) to avoid the victimisation of children by engaging Minor Attracted Persons and provide them with the necessary support, treatment, and guidance to help prevent criminal activities…”

This description of MAPs seems to me to edge the terminology away from ‘criminal activity which should be punished’, into ‘distressed, misunderstood persons needing therapy’. And it seems to be a common strategy .

I haven’t worked with criminals convicted of child sexual abuse but having read reports of their activities,  my sense is that they are addicted to their habit and are extremely devious and manipulative . Over several years I was in professional contact with a man who had a good reputation as an expert in child abuse, including sexual abuse. He was later found guilty of downloading extreme pornography involving children. I never would have guessed.

Police Scotland subsequently blamed the EU for the use of the term MAP.

‘After complaints, a Police Scotland spokesman said “Police Scotland does not use the term MAP. The reference in the report was in relation to the EU Horizon Consortium to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation… the term is used in the commissioning documents for the Consortium and is more commonly used on the Continent….”

The spokesman continued “Police Scotland successfully lobbied in September for the MAP term not to be used by the Consortium…”

Police Scotland is taking part in the EU Horizon Consortium.

I thought I’d take a look at the Chief Constable’s Assessment of (Scottish) Policing
Performance 2021/2022, and found the exact phrase quoted in The Mail – on page 31. There is no mention of the alleged lobbying, or of the fact that the term originates in this particular EU project.

Keen to find out more about the EU Horizon Consortium and its choice of words, I disappeared down an EU rabbit hole….. any discovery I’d hoped for, such as reference to, or Minutes of, a meeting where the alleged lobbying took place, and any references to MAPs, or paedophiles. was fruitless. The front page is a minefield of separate projects and initiatives, often involving ‘tools’ and ‘roadmaps’ – probably overlapping and duplicating – with accompanying acronyms.

References to child protection focus on child poverty (lots of projects and papers on this one); unaccompanied child refugees; child trafficking during the pandemic; childrens rights (another popular subject)…and so on and so forth. It’s easy to laugh at this verbiage, and perhaps I shouldn’t be too critical, having been a recipient of EU largesse via the TEMPUS and ERASMUS programmes.

Maybe some of these Horizon-funded projects do good work. But I wondered if they were mere talking shops, which the woolly language suggested, strategic rather than operational. I lost patience trying to find any reference to MAPs and paedophiles. In any case, I suspect many of the organisations funded by the EU Horizon programme would feel queasy at the use of the P word. Mustn’t discriminate.
Perhaps the lobbying by Police Scotland was successful. But the term shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Is it common ‘on the Continent’ – as Police Scotland allege ?

Nevertheless , the headline information on the Horizon Consortium project is easy to understand :

‘this .. funding programme will last until 2027 with a budget of 95.5 million Euros’

Interested parties are invited to tender. I’ll bet they are, but of course, they will have to speak the right kind of language. Byzantine circumlocutions, rather than plain talking, are the order of the day.

Another instance of the misuse of language was deftly set out by Andrew Doyle in a recent speech, available on YouTube.  He was referring to our very progressive ‘non-crime hate incidents’ which our Police seem keen on, despite being told by both Government and the High Court to desist.

Doyle noted that the College of Policing instructs the Police to  refer to anyone ‘hurt’ by something someone else says, as a ‘victim’, and record it as such.  And of course if there is a victim, there must be a guilty perpetrator.  Doyle stated that the correct term , used once upon a time by the Police, was ‘complainant’ , not ‘victim’. A real victim with a real perpetrator can only be adjudged after due process, which the Police are by-passing.

The person responsible for this ominous change of words was, according to Doyle, Sir Keir Starmer.  I’m not surprised.

So the use of language in these examples appears to show a curious case of innocent people being found instantly guilty by the Police (non-crime hate incidents) whilst all manner of weasel-words are used to describe actual, or potential, very serious criminal behaviour involving minors. Almost as if – as in the grooming gang scandals – the perpetrators are to be seen as the victims, people who are to be understood as a persecuted minority, deserving of understanding, therapy, and protection.