Keyword: moral panic

O'Hear, Michael M.; Perpetual Panic; Federal Sentencing Reporter; 21(2), pp. 69–77
The account of recent developments that unfolds in these pages may be viewed as yet another chapter in the story of a child sex abuse panic that is now well into its third decade - [Especially in the USA]
Radford, Ben; Predator Panic: A Closer Look, Sep 01 2006
“Protect the children.” [...]
Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent protecting children from one threat or other, often with little concern for how expensive or effective the remedies are — or how serious the threat actually is in the first place. So it is with America’s latest panic: sexual predators.
According to lawmakers and near-daily news reports, sexual predators lurk everywhere: in parks, at schools, in the malls—even in children’s bedrooms, through the Internet. A few rare (but high-profile) incidents have spawned an unprecedented deluge of new laws enacted in response to the public’s fear.
[...]
Eventually this predator panic will subside and some new threat will take its place. Expensive, ineffective, and unworkable laws will be left in its wake when the panic passes. And no one is protecting America from that.
Burns, Hayley; What are 'moral panics'?
This document will examine not only the essence and origin of the term 'moral panic' but the very important nature of the media's involvement in the whole process of creating a 'moral panic'.
"More moral panics will be generated and other, as yet nameless, folk devils will be created. This is not because such developments have an inexorable inner logic, but because our society as present structured will continue to generate problems for some of its members ... and then condemn whatever solution these groups find."
Rind, Bruce; Social Response to Age-Gap Sex Involving Minors: Empirical, Historical, Cross-Cultural, and Cross-Species Considerations; Thymos; 4(2), 113, Oct 01 2010
Social response to age-gap sex involving minors has become increasingly severe. In the US, non-coercive acts that might have been punished with probation 30 years ago often lead to decades in prison today. Punishment also increasingly includes civil commitment up to life, as well as scarlet-letter-like public registries and onerous residence restrictions for released offenders. Advocates and the general public approve, believing that age-gap sex with minors is uniquely injurious, pathological, and criminal. Critics argue that public opinion and policy have been shaped by moral panic, consisting of unfounded assumptions and invalid science being uncritically promoted by ideology, media sensationalism, and political pandering. This talk critically examines the basic assumptions and does so using a multi-perspective approach (empirical, historical, cross-cultural, cross-species) to overcome the biases inherent in traditional clinical-forensic reports. Non-clinical empirical reviews of age-gap sex involving minors show claims of intense, pervasive injuriousness to be highly exaggerated. Historical and cross-cultural reviews show that adult-adolescent sexual relations have been common and frequently socially integrated in other times and places, indicating that present-day Western conceptualizations are socially constructed to reflect current social and economic arrangements rather than expressions of a priori truths. Analogous relations in primates are commonplace, non-pathological, and not infrequently functional, contradicting implicit assumptions of a biologically-based "trauma response" in humans. It is concluded that, though age-gap sex involving minors is a significant mismatch for contemporary culture—and this talk therefore does not endorse it— attitudes and social policy concerning it have been driven by an upward-spiraling moral panic, which itself is immoral in its excessive adverse consequences for individuals and society.