Have a question?
033 3772 0409

Legal News

“Teach children not to confuse kissing relatives with sexual predators” (13 January 2014)

Date: 13/01/2014
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, “Teach children not to confuse kissing relatives with sexual predators”

A sex education expert has prompted an angry backlash from family campaigners, after she suggested that child abuse could be prevented if very young children “high-fived” their grandparents rather than kissing them.

Co-ordinator of the Sex Education Forum, Lucy Emmerson, said that children needed to learn at “age zero” that their bodies are their own. Ms Emmerson said that her recommendations could protect children from future sexual exploitation.

Ms Emmerson added that parents could “blur the boundaries” of acceptable behaviour if they coerced young children into kissing relatives such as their grandmother or elderly aunt or uncle.

Family campaigners have reacted angrily to Ms Emmerson’s comments, however – saying children are aware of the difference between having to kiss an elderly aunt or uncle or their grandmother and unwanted sexual advances from others.

Director of the Family Education Trust, Norman Wells, said:

“Even if the distinction is lost on the Sex Education Forum, children and young people are able to recognise that there is all the difference in the world between self-consciously – and perhaps on occasion reluctantly – kissing an uncle or aunt on the cheek on the one hand and accepting unwanted sexual advances on the other.”

Ms Emmerson was discussing the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles online when she made her comments.

Many children who are sexually exploited are groomed online or using social media after an initial encounter with someone who goes on to exploit them sexually.

Recently, men jailed for the sexual exploitation of underage girls in towns in the north of England met their victims socially and then launched a campaign of grooming using electronic media. The girls were in some cases showered with attention and presents before being coerced into sexual activity and passed round groups of men.

Several cases of recent sex exploitation have also focused on teachers beginning sexual relationships with minors at schools where they work.

The most notorious sexual predator in recent years has turned out to be BBC disc jockey and presenter Jimmy Savile, who hid behind a mask of respectability to gain access to children’s TV, hospitals and children’s homes, where he sexually abused vulnerable young adults and children.

In comments online Ms Emmerson said, however, that parents instinctively comply with social rituals in which children may be encouraged to kiss relatives or friends – and even strangers:

"Much is learnt by young children from everyday experiences about whether or not their opinion is valued and if they have any control over physical contact with others.

"I believe learning about consent starts from age zero.”
She added that children being allowed to offer relatives a high-five, blow a kiss or hug relatives and family friends rather than kissing them put children in control of the situation.

Duncan Lewis Children’s Solicitors

Duncan Lewis is a leading firm of children’s solicitors and can advise on legal issue such as child abuse or child abduction.

Duncan Lewis can also advise parents on children taken into Local Authority care, or child contact and residence.

For expert legal advice on children’s law and childcare law, contact Duncan Lewis children solicitors on 020 7923 4020.

Call us now on 033 3772 0409 or click here to send online enquiry.
Duncan Lewis is the trading name of Duncan Lewis (Solicitors) Limited. Registered Office is Spencer House, 29 Grove Hill Road, Harrow, HA1 3BN. Company Reg. No. 3718422. VAT Reg. No. 718729013. A list of the company's Directors is displayed at the registered offices address. Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority . Offices all across London and in major cities in the UK. ©Duncan Lewis >>Legal Disclaimer, Copyright & Privacy Policy. Duncan Lewis do not accept service by email.