Licensed to Hug
How Child Protection Policies are Poisoning
the Relationship between the Generations

By Frank Furedi and Jennie Bristow
December 2008
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
ISBN: 9781903386705
64 pages, 5 x 7 7/8"
$14.00 Paper Original

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 by October 2009 more than one in four adults in England will have to be checked.

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.

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 intergenerational 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 preschool girls. She writes the monthly 'Guide to Subversive Parenting' for the online publication spiked (, and summer 2008 sees the launch of her new website Parents With Attitude. (


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