I am writing to you in respect of an identified breach of your statutory duties to safeguard the welfare of children under the Children First Act 2015 and the Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children. Specifically, it has been brought to my attention that you are promoting, marketing and selling the above listed books to children under the age of 18 years. I wish to draw your attention to the fact that these books contain highly sexualised and graphic adult content. I would request that you take immediate action to safeguard children from exposure to potential harm, in line with your statutory duties. I trust that you will be aware that you are obliged forward this correspondence urgently to your Designated Liaison Person so these books can be re-categorised as containing adult content.
In accordance with the Children First Act 2015, you are also under a statutory duty to update your Child Safeguarding Statement and Risk Assessment in the event of new identifiable risks. At Schedule 1, Section 2(5)(a) this bookshop clearly come within the ambit of the Children First Act, 2015 as you carry out activities consisting of the provision of educational activities to children. Your statutory duties extend to taking steps to ensure that children attending your bookshop, as far as reasonably practicable, are not at risk of potential psychological, physical, sexual and/or emotional harm. You have therefore a duty to ensure that reading material is clearly categorised as suitable or unsuitable for children, as defined as a person under the age of 18 years in accordance with Section 2(1) of the Child Care Act, 1991. Categorising adult sexually explicit and graphic content as suitable for ‘young adults’ or ‘teens’ does not negate your responsibility to take steps, as far as reasonably practicable, to ensure that such material is not marketed, promoted or sold to children under 18 years.
I trust that this bookshop, who claim to take pride in inspiring children to love to read, do not generally sell books with a pornographic, highly sexualised and graphic adult content as suitable for children under 18 years old. It is, therefore, alarming that this bookshop is continuing to market, promote and sell these books as suitable for children.
I wish to draw your attention to the fact that this bookshop is exposing itself to potential litigation in continuing to market, promote and sell these books to children under 18. No doubt, you will be aware that you are under a duty to safeguard children from personal injury arising from foreseeable harm. The potential harms of exposing children to these books with such sexually explicit and graphic adult content are clearly foreseeable. In the UK, parents have recently issued a class action against the Department of Education for failing to act on the foreseeable harms of exposing children to transgender ideology in the classroom.
As………………… have now been put on formal notice of the identified risks of continuing to promote, market and sell these books to children under 18 years, future claims of negligence cannot be subsequently defended on the grounds that harm caused from exposure to sexually explicit adult graphic content was not foreseeable.
I would, therefore, ask you to take immediate remedial action to ensure that you have complied with your statutory duties to safeguard children by categorising these books as not suitable for under 18 year olds.
I look forward to hearing from you within 10 working days of the date of this letter.