Families for Freedom

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This article is part of or related
to the LM group series:

Families for Freedom is a front organisation set up in the UK by the LM group to advance their position that risks to children are grossly exaggerated. This fits with the broader arguments expounded by LM sympathisers and platform groups that society is obsessed with risk, motivated from the perspective that the potential to change society is hindered by official regulation, political correctness and bounds on 'freedom'.

The group describes itself as follows:

"Families for Freedom was set up in June 1996 by a group of parents and professionals involved with children. We believe that the risks to children are grossly exaggerated. All the evidence points to the fact that children are safer, healthier, better fed, better read and more computer-literate than ever before. Prenatal, infant and child mortality rates have continued to decline over the past two decades. There has been no increase in the minuscule risk of child abduction and murder in the post-war period." [1]

Though the campaign run by Families for Freedom may not seem unreasonable, it must be understood within the context of the beliefs of the LM group and, in particular, its foremost ideologue Frank Furedi. For more information please see the LM group article.

Newspaper letters

Writing letters to national newspapers was one strategy the group used, with some success, to get its agenda into the media.

Independent, 24 October 1996

Sir: We are horrified by the discussion over events at Ridings School ("Battle to ban 60 children from one school", 22 October). It is turning teachers into victims.
As teachers and parents ourselves we can fully empathise with the tiring efforts required to deal with unruly and rude children. However we cannot understand the elevation of these little horrors into gargantuan monsters. Children are not becoming more violent, nor are they committing more crime. In 1996 there were 299 fewer convictions of under-21s than in 1981. Children have not become more beastly. Rather, stressed and hardworking teachers are being encouraged to blame children for their plight. Grow up and look at the real problems facing teachers!
Tiffany Jenkins
Bernadette Wheelan
Families for Freedom

Independent, 19 November 1996

Sir: We believe in Father Christmas. Although no Santa has been accused of child abuse, some shops, including Selfridges, have banned unaccompanied children from entering Santa's grotto (report, 15 November). Two weeks ago we found out that male nurses have been warned off cuddling sick children, now it's Santa. Children and their parents are suffering because of a fear of abuse that far outstrips the actual risk.
Visiting Santa's Grotto allows children to engage in a happy fantasy and enriches their experience. Sometimes visiting Santa for the first time can be a little scary, but it all turns out happily and helps children develop self-confidence with people they do not know. This action threatens to undermine parents' confidence to leave their child unattended, even for a few minutes. The ban sends out the message that no adult, not even Santa Claus, can be trusted. It says more about the imaginations of people who come up with these plans than about innocent men dressed up in silly clothes.
Kate Moorcock
Families for Freedom

Independent, 27 October 1997

Sir: I also attended the launch of the report The Age of Anxiety (NCH Action for Children) and take exception to your article "What children really fear" (23 October). NCH's research is problematic: it confuses the perception of a problem with the reality; and the terms in the questionnaire were too vague and invited the results that appeared.
So for example, the report states that 82 per cent of children in the poll were worried about violence. When asked at the launch what the researchers meant by "violence" in their question to the children, NCH could not answer. I am sure every one, including children, worries about violence, but this does not mean, as your article implied, that 82 per cent of children live in constant dread of being victims of domestic violence themselves.
Tiffany Jenkins
Chair, Families for Freedom
London WC1

Personnel

Contact

Families for Freedom
14 Theobalds Road
London
WC1X 8PF

External links