… in the legislature and legal practice in The Netherlands …… concerning pedophilia and pedosexuality.

Liberation, Moral Panic, and now …?

Frans E. J. Gieles, PhD, The Netherlands, February 2021

Short version

1968 - 1991: Liberation

The Sexual Revolution has started a perturning_points.pdfiod of relative sexual freedom, at least for a
part of the population. In the seventies and the eighties several groups have started,
promoting more sexual freedom for all and acceptance of pedophilia as an existing

In 1970 the Minister of Justice has started the ‘Advisory Committee Moral
Legislation’ [...]

The NVSH, ‘Dutch Association for Sexual Reform’, published in 1978 a Report ‘Ages of consent and moral legislation – Protection or threat?’

In 1979 a Petition was published by jurists, humanists, a reverend radio pastor Alje
Klamer and NVSH, asking for what NVSH had published in 1978. This petition was signed by roughly 60 organisations, including 5 political parties, and by many individuals, including lawyers, criminologists, teachers and  parents.

In 1982, the Association Martijn was founded, aiming to speak openly about
pedophilia and the acceptability of it in society.

Moral Panic

Moral panic usually starts with a serious incident.

  • A first reaction of the public is to magnify the incident to a dangerous trend
    and to give it a label. For serious (pedo)sexual incidents, this label was
    wrongly ‘pedophilia’, thus ‘the pedophiles’ were labeled as dangerous
  • The next stage is to create more rules and laws to diminish The Danger(ous
  • In the third phase, the panic diminishes and gradually disappears to the

1984 - 2000: Moral Panic, more rules and laws

A Member of the USA Congress, Ms. Densen-Gerber visited the Netherlands to speak with the government about our reputation, especially Amsterdam, as a modern 'Sodom and Gomorrah’, especially concerning the availability of child pornography. [...] Our government promised to set more limits.
This has started a discussion, doubts about the sexual freedom, especially
concerning children and youth and pornography. [...]

Also in 1984 NVSH published a plea for self-development, autonomy and selfdetermination in sexuality for all, including youth, for whom protection if needed and freedom of choice if possible was the norm.

The Parliament accepted in 1991 a law in which sex with children younger than 16 kept being forbidden, but that sexual acts with youth from 12 to 16 years of age only should be sued if the youngster or his or her parent or legal representative, or a representative of the Dutch Council for Child Protection has filed a complaint.

In 1995 the VN organized a convention about the rights of children, especially the right to be protected, especially against sexual exploitation and child pornography.
In the same year, the Dutch Parliament and government changed the law concerning child pornography. Not only producing and spreading is kept forbidden, but also to stock it. This “stock” was originally meant as “to spread or sell it”, but some years later, the same word became read as “possessing” it.

In 1996, the Netherlands and Belgium were shocked by the criminal acts of Marc Dutroux in Belgium, actually exploiting and hungering children in a cellar, a serious crime, but worldwide wrongly called “pedophilia”. Dutroux did not love children, he did love money. ‘Pedophiles’ were wrongly seen as ‘just like Dutroux’. This was a serious incident that started the process of moral panic.
The same year was in Stockholm held the Congress against the Commercial Exploitation of Children.

In 1998 a reseach institute [...]  advised to cancel the passage in the law about the necessity of a claim from 12 to 16 year old youth [...]

In 1999 the government has sent an invoice to the Parliament, named Combatting
sexual abuse and sexual violence against children.

2000 - 2016: More rules and laws

In 2000 started the next phase of the moral panic: the creation of more and more severe rules and laws. The government presented a National Action Plan to combat sexual abuse of children [and especially chold pornography] [...]

Also in 2000, NVSH published a Report Children, Youth and sexuality; safety, freedom and education, and held a symposium Youth sexuality and the moral laws. Analysts told the symposium that a new period has started, a period of polarization and scapegoating ‘The Pedophile’ as ‘a Monster like Dutroux’.
The NVSH Report strongly criticized the National Action Plan [... ... ...]

  • "Protection if needed and freedom of choice if possible" and
  • “Childish sex with an adult can be OK, adult sex with a child is wrong”.

Regrettably, the NVSH Report has had no influence in the legislation process.
In 2001 followed a law proposal, accepted in 2002, with the changes mentioned in the National Action Plan, mentioned here above.

In 2007, there has been a Congress in Lanzarote, in 2010 followed by a Treaty: Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and sexual Abuse, usually called “The Lanzarote Convention”.
“Sexual Abuse” is defined as every sexual act with a child younger than the legal age of consent. “Child” is “any person under the age of 18”. [... ... ... ...]

In 2010, the Netherlands have been shocked by a new severe incident, the crimes
against very young children of the child care worker in a nursery and as a child sitter
in private homes Robert M. Thus, phase two in the moral panic chain, severe
controls (declarations of behavior) of male child care workers followed – and the
amount of male child care workers diminished sturdily.

2012 - 2014
The Association Martijn, founded in 1982, has been forbidden in 2012, then allowed
on appeal, but again forbidden by the High Court of the NLs in 2014.

In 2016 the Dutch prosecutors (read: the Minister) have adapted the definition of
child pornography to the Lanzarote Conviction

  • [... more and more severe rules ...]
  • [... more power for the Prosecutor ...]
  • [... more power for police tp search houses and computers and to confiscate data ...]

2020:  Pro- and Counter Groups

The PNVD, “Political Party for Neighbor love, Freedom and Diversity” [...] started in 2006, canceled in 2010, re-started in 2020 [... ... ...]
The public reaction was furious. Many Facebook pages with lots of followers, as well as several demonstrations strongly rejected the PNVD and its ideas.
Also several anti-pedo groups/sites started up. [...]
Police started to hunt, not the pedo’s but the pedo-hunters, of whom the first predators are already convicted. Since then, the hunters keep silence.

2021: Two contrasting trends

One trend is described just here above: strong anti-pedo opinions of a part of the
population, [...] Complot theories [...] polarization [...].

There is another trend going on nowadays. Gradually, but more and more, the crucial difference is seen between pedophilia (feeling) and pedosexuality (act). Professional helpers, researchers, and even the popular press acknowledge this difference. The ‘pedophiles’ themselves have developed a new ethical code: no sex. [...]

Writers of research overviews acknowledge that many research projects in the past wrongly have examined (often even only) offenders and their convicted acts, not pedophiles and their feelings and ethical ideas. Research among the latter has started now, which is more possible since respondents are able to anonymously give their
opinion and data via the Internet.

Here appears not ‘a Dutroux’ or ‘a Robert M.’, but the “NOMAP”, the Non
Offending Minor Attracted person. He or she might become welcome in society, no
longer as a ‘distorted patient’, but as a person with a less common (sexual)
orientation, which is not dangerous as long as the person has the self-discipline to
control his or her impulses, just as every (sexual) orientation demands to every

References and Read More

See the full text version:turning_points.pdf