Police Scotland refers to pedophiles as 'minor-attracted people'

Changing the language used to refer to pedophiles was apparently intended to be a part of an effort to stop child abuse.

 Scottish Government COVID-19 press conference at St. Andrew's House, Edinburgh with the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch, and Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone (photo credit: FLICKR)
Scottish Government COVID-19 press conference at St. Andrew's House, Edinburgh with the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch, and Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone
(photo credit: FLICKR)

Scotland's police are advancing a project which in part seeks to change the terminology used for pedophiles, referring to them instead as Minor-Attracted People.

The project intended "to develop understanding and approach to avoid the victimization of children by engaging Minor-Attracted People (MAPs) and providing them with the necessary support, treatment and guidance to help prevent criminal activities." This comes in Chief Constable Iain Livingstone's annual year-end Assessment of Policing Performance report.

The report claims that the project was undertaken by the Specialist Crime Division (SCD). Police Scotland describes the SCD as "the dedicated command within Police Scotland." The SCD "supports local policing [and] helps keep people safe through the provision of access to national specialist investigative and intelligence functions."

Reactions to the report's use of the term "minor-attracted people" has been overwhelmingly negative. One Scottish conservative spokesperson told the Daily Mail that "offenses relating to pedophilia are among the most appalling and unforgivable crimes anyone can commit" and that most Scottish people "will find any attempt to soften the language around pedophilia in official guidance to be deeply disturbing and wrong."

The term MAP is faced with severe criticism

People all around the world have taken to Twitter to voice their disapproval. Jordan Peterson, the massively popular Canadian clinical psychologist, professor and thought leader is among them.

 Police officer making an arrest (credit: RAWPIXEL) Police officer making an arrest (credit: RAWPIXEL)

"How about we don't do this: 'minor-attracted people' equal predators plain and simple," he writes. 

The comment from Dr. Peterson, who is commonly described as "conservative," is a drop in the ocean of condemnation of the term by people from all backgrounds, including those who normally oppose Peterson as well as those in the LGBTQ+ community.

One Twitter user replied to Peterson, asserting, "That’s not as controversial a statement as you’d evidently like it to be, Dr. Peterson. MAPs have never been welcomed by the queer community."

There have been concerns that through the use of terms such as "minor-attracted people," pedophiles will attempt to solidify themselves as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Adding to the criticism, social work consultant, Maggie Mellon, said "the danger of normalizing and therefore perhaps decriminalizing" pedophilia and child abuse is increased by the use of the term "minor-attracted people."

Police Scotland have, in the face of the tsunami of condemnation, apparently walked back their position. In a statement posted to Twitter, Police Scotland claimed that they do not use the term "minor-attracted person" and that, in fact, they've been against it.

They assert that the use of the term in the report was a quote from "proposal documents for the establishment of the Horizon Project, a European consortium to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation."

Not only does the report not seem to indicate that it is quoting something, but it also does not note Police Scotland's supposed opposition to the term. Additionally, it affirms that Police Scotland is engaged in the project.