The term – described as ‘deeply disturbing’ and ‘baloney’ – was included in the Chief Constable’s year-end report as part of an EU project to tackle child abuse and exploitation
A controversial move to label paedophiles as “Minor-Attracted People” in a top-level report has been defended by Police Scotland, with the force suggesting the EU was to blame.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone’s annual year end report refers to child abusers as Minor-Attracted People (MAPs). The move comes amid wider concerns by campaigners over what they see as attempts to rebrand paedophilia as a harmless sexual preference.
A spokesman for the force stressed that MAPs is not a term they routinely use to describe child abusers and said that its use in the report had to be understood in context.
He explained that the reference to MAPs was in relation to the force’s engagement with the European Union‘s Horizon Europe Project – Prevention of Child Sexual Exploitation.
The report states: “The project’s main agenda is to develop understanding and approach to avoid the victimisation of children by engaging Minor-Attracted People (MAPs) and providing them with the necessary support, treatment and guidance to help prevent criminal activities.”
A police spokesman said: “Police Scotland does not use the term Minor-Attracted Person. The reference in the Chief Constable’s Assessment of Policing Performance 2021/22 was in the context of Police Scotland’s engagement with the Horizon Project EU consortium to tackle Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.
“The term was used in the commissioning documents for the consortium and is more commonly used on the continent. In September, Police Scotland representatives successfully lobbied for the MAP term not to be used by the consortium.”
The term MAP is contentious because child abusers are trying to escape the stigma attached to paedophilia and maintain they should be regarded as a niche group alongside the LGBT community.
Kenny McAskill, the Alba Party MP for East Lothian and former SNP Justice Secretary, said any use of euphemisms in relation to child sex abusers was “baloney”.
He said: “Spouting these euphemisms simply masks the reality and their danger.
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“I very much welcome the common sense approach from Police Scotland, though even in commissioning documents these euphemisms should be avoided as they mask the reality and hide the horror. The term in whatever context is baloney.”
‘Most Scots will find this deeply disturbing and wrong’
Maggie Mellon, an independent social work consultant, said the term MAP risked “the danger of normalising and therefore perhaps decriminalising a serious offence”.
She added: “There should be diagnostic and treatment options for those who present a risk to children but the police are not a therapeutic service – they should be devoting their resources to closing down porn sites that feature children and abuse of women and upping their detection and conviction rates for those promoting child abuse.”
A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Most Scots will find any attempt to soften the language around paedophilia in official guidance to be deeply disturbing and wrong.
“Offences relating to paedophilia are among the most appalling and unforgivable crimes anyone can commit and it’s essential that Police Scotland guidance reflects this.”
The MAPs propaganda drive has been compared to the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) campaign in the 1970s and 80s which piggy-backed on the gay liberation movement to push for pro-child abuse policies, such as lowering the age of consent to just four.
Single force blasted for ‘Orwellian’ rape policy
Police Scotland has already come under fire in the past year for saying they would record rapes by offenders with a penis as being committed by a woman if the attacker “identifies as female”.
Campaigners said this would warp rape statistics and threaten women’s safety by understating the threat of male violence amid fears that the controversial Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill – which was passed two days before Christmas – would compromise the safety of women-only spaces such as changing rooms and toilets.