Child’s Eye Line UK is celebrating after shopping centres in the UK have agreed to remove sexualised Ann Summers window displays featuring bondage imagery. The St Nicholas shopping centre in Sutton and the Golden Square shopping centre in Warrington removed the ‘bondage-halloween’ themed posters after campaigners complained they were not appropriate to be displayed in children’s eye line.
Leszek Banasiak, Operations Manager at the St Nicholas Shopping Centre in Sutton, told Child’s Eye Line UK: “Thank you to local parents for drawing our attention to this matter. We understand your concerns and have instructed Ann Summers to remove the poster.”
“We are delighted that so many shopping centres have agreed to make their centres more family-friendly,” said Child’s Eye Line UK founder Kathy McGuinness. “Sexualised imagery should not be displayed on the high street. It’s great to see retailers acting responsibly and listening to parents’ concerns. We hope that other shopping centres and high streets will follow their lead to protect children from sexualised imagery in family-friendly places.”
The government issued guidelines in 2012 that sexualised imagery should not be displayed where children can see them following the Bailey Review called “Letting children be children.” These guidelines were reinforced by the Children’s Commissioner’s report 2013 which concluded that “exposure to sexualised imagery is damaging to children’s development, relationships and self esteem and and makes risky sexual behaviour more likely.”
When Child’s Eye Line UK met with the Minister for Crime Prevention, Norman Baker MP, in July 2014 he confirmed that retailers that display sexualised images at child height are “not observing current legislation in relation to the Indecent Displays Act 1981.” Child’s Eye Line UK is campaigning for legislation to regulate the display of sexualised images around children. “Child’s Eye Line UK’s concerns about displays with inappropriate or indecent images or text are fully understood and I believe the problem lies with the retailers,” said Norman Baker MP in a letter to Child’s Eye Line UK following the meeting at the Home Office.
“I am grateful to the work of Child’s Eye Line UK and I am particularly struck by the difficulties and resistance parents have been experiencing when seeking the cooperation of retailers who are often not observing current legislation.” Norman Baker MP wrote to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in his role as Minister on Child’s Eye Line UK’s behalf and received a ‘positive reply.’ David Cameron referred Norman Baker MP to the Bailey Review into the sexualisation of children, ‘Letting Children Be Children’ (commissioned in 2012), which made a series of recommendations that shops should ‘ensure that sexualised images are not in easy sight of children.’ Norman Baker MP said that it is “vital that a robust approach to promoting the self-regulation is in place and that the Indecent Displays Act 1981 is able to provide for sufficient protection on matters raised by Child’s Eye Line UK.”
Child’s Eye Line UK recently received cross-party support at the Scottish Parliament. Jackie Baillie MSP Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy said that she was delighted with Child’s Eye Line UK’s success, commenting: “All shoppers including children have the right to shop in a family-friendly environment.”
Notes to Editors:
About Child’s Eye Line UK:
Child’s Eye Line UK is a campaign run by volunteer parents fed up of their children being confronted with sexualized and degrading images in their local shops and supermarkets.
The campaign launched a petition to the government to legislate in March 2013 which achieved 25,000 signatures, has a busy website, Facebook and Twitter following and cross-party support from MPs and all the leading teaching unions and children’s charities.
A recent government report by the Children’s Commissioner, “Basically, Porn is Everywhere” 2013, found that exposure to sexualized images is “damaging to children, negatively affecting their sexual development, relationships and self esteem and makes risky sexual behaviour more likely.” The images and content found in publications like The Sun, The Star, The Sport and lads’ mags were also linked with attitudes that underpin violence against women.
Child’s Eye Line UK had success in November 2014 when it persuaded Tesco to change its displays of newspapers and has recently worked with The Sun newspaper regarding its more family-friendly content after dropping the topless Page 3 feature.
For interviews and more details about Child’s Eye Line UK, please contact:
Child’s Eye Line UK Founder
Kathy McGuinness: 07712649606