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Licensed to Hug: How Child Protection Policies Are Poisoning the Relationship Between the Generations and Damaging the Voluntary Sector [Paperback]

Frank Furedi , Jennie Bristow
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Jun 2008
Since the establishment of the Criminal Records Bureau in 2002, more than a third of British adults have had to get a certificate to say they are safe to be near children, and the numbers affected are increasing. Frank Furedi and Jennie Bristow argue that the growth of police vetting has created a sense of mistrust. Communities are forged through the joint commitment of adults to the socialisation of children. Now, adults are afraid to interact with any child not their own. The generations are becoming distant, as adults suspect each other and children are taught to suspect adults. The vetting culture encourages risk aversion: there is a feeling that it is better to ignore young people, even if they are behaving in an anti-social manner, and even if they are in trouble and need help, rather than risk accusations of improper conduct.Vetting also gives a false sense of security as it can only identify those who have offended in the past and been caught - not what people will do after they are passed as fit to be near children. "Licensed to Hug" argues for a more common-sense approach to adult/child relations, based on the assumption that the vast majority of adults can be relied on to help and support children, and that the healthy interaction between generations enriches children's lives.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Civitas:Institute for the Study of Civil Society (30 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903386705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903386705
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Frank Furedi is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury. During the past decade his research has been concerned with the culture of fear in relation to issues such as health, children, education, food, terrorism and new technology. Since the publication of his study Paranoid Parenting (new edition to be published in October 2008), Furedi has explored problems associated with inter-generational relations, education and childhood. Currently he is writing a book-Lost In Education-that questions the way society educates children and young people.Jennie Bristow is a journalist and mother of two pre-school girls. She writes the monthly 'Guide to Sub-versive Parenting' for the online publication spiked (, and summer 2008 sees the launch of her new website Parents With Attitude. (

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Issues we ought to consider 20 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book to make you think. It considers the issues around safeguarding children and how we might just be going over the top in our concerns, and causing problems in the realtionships between adult volunteers and children.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common sense at last 27 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We all know common sense is nowhere near as common as it used to be, and this is a salutary reminder that its substitute - pettyfogging bureaucratic regulation - spreads a poisonous atmosphere all around. The sooner a few more people in control of almost every aspect of our lives read this, the sooner we may get back to living in a halfway bearable society in which your average well-meaning adult is not seen first and foremost as an as-yet-unspotted danger.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the myths of social policy 22 Oct 2002
By Junglies - Published on
This is a superb book. Well argued, very well written, not the best annotated study I have read, but a cogent, lucid piece of prose with a very compelling argument.
Norman Dennis, writing from a perspective of an ethical socialist demolishes the myth that poverty and unemployment cause crime. He is essentially attacking a report by authors commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to inquire into Income and Wealth in England and Wales. The report itself is however, representative of the whole theory which holds that crime is the result of poverty and unemployment and is thus 'no-one's fault'.
Using the same information as the authors and drawing from other published sources, Dennis categorically shows that the arguments do not hold up to any serious scruting. He deplores the extension of marxist and so-called socialist academics theories away from attacking the capitailist superstructure and into areas of discrimination and inequality. His capacity to do so is supported by his position as a long-term member of the Labour Party and his academic credentials.
For Dennis, explanations of crime should be more focussed on the sexual liberation of men since the 1960's and the changing values of the elites in British society which allows for sexual freedom or licence withou responsibility. By turning the focus of social policy makers onto women who suffer because of this behaviour industrialised societies are in effect promoting an estrangement of men from responsibility, an effect which has been enhanced by the changing nature of employment from traditional male manual labour to more female orientated tasks and services. This combined with the impact of contraceptive devices has allowed for increasing restlessness among (particularly young) males which has been excused in Dennis' view by the no-fault theories.
While Dennis' argument is compelling there are some flaws in his argument. His critique of social liberalisation is a clever denunciation of an increasing individualistic society. For him, the cry is a return to the family. I am not trying here to equate his view to the 'Back to Basics' nonsense of the Major Government for Dennis' view is clearly more complex than that. He asks for a return to a more authoritative socialist type of society rather than looking for a strengthening of the existing laws to ensure that relationships carry responsibility for actions as well as the rights to enjoy them.
Another error is the complete failure to examine the exceptions to the nicey-nice view of working class life that he so eloquently portrays. He ignores the infidelity that certainly existed, he ignores the whole question of back street abortions, and most crucially he does not examine at all the whole issue of prostitution which was certainly not the sole perogative of the middle and upper classes.
Despite thos criticisms this really is a well written and argued little book. Recommended for anyone with an interest in crime and social policy. Also one of the cleverest critiques of the emerging social and economic liberalism currently sweeping around the world.
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