Police Scotland issues statement amid criticism over term ‘minor-attracted people’ for child sex offenders

Police Scotland has issued a statement amid media reports that an official document used the term ‘minor-attracted people’ (MAP) to describe those who commit sexual offences against children.

Jan 3, 2023
By Paul Jacques

The phrase appeared in proposal documents for the establishment of the Horizon Project, a European consortium to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation, which were referenced in a Police Scotland report.

Campaigners say the controversial phrase could “normalise child abuse”, but Police Scotland said criticism in the media “completely misrepresents” its position on the term MAP.

Detective Chief Superintendent Sam Faulds, head of Public Protection for Police Scotland, said: “We utterly condemn anyone who commits sexual offences against children, be it individuals or organised paedophile networks, and we work tirelessly to bring them to justice.

“Police Scotland does not use the term MAP to describe this type of offender and any suggestion otherwise completely misrepresents our position.

“The term referenced in a Police Scotland report in June 2022 was quoted from proposal documents for the establishment of the Horizon Project, a European consortium to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“At the first meeting of the consortium, in Warsaw in September 2022, Police Scotland officers successfully lobbied for the MAP term to be removed from recognised terminology used by more than 20 European partners.

“Our view was that the term was entirely unacceptable in describing someone either involved in sexual offending against children or who has indecent thoughts towards them.

Det Chief Supt Faulds added: “Police Scotland’s National Child Abuse Investigation Unit works closely with partners to investigate all reports of child sexual exploitation, identify and apprehend abusers and reduce their opportunity for sexual offending, both physically and in the digital space.”

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