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Thursday, 24 March 2011 16:30

NCSF Resource Library

The NCSF Resource Library

 

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has compiled a wide array of educational and informational materials on a variety of topics. We've organized them all here in our Resource Library for the public.

Friday, 18 March 2011 12:28

Consent Counts Program Description

The Consent Counts project involves the BDSM communities in a nationwide education and activism program coordinated and led by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.  This multifaceted campaign includes a comprehensive is analysis of current laws and court decisions, the development of legal arguments for changing the laws, participating in court cases, and ultimately, through lobbying, education and grass-roots activism, changing state laws and the way the public and the courts view BDSM.  An important element of the project also includes an Educational Outreach Program (EOP) to educate our own communities of the current state of the law, of the effort NCSF is undertaking and to involve them in our strategic planning process and development of “best practices” by which we can protect ourselves and facilitate change.

Resources for you; ( *  Denotes Recently Added)
 
*American Law Institute (ALI) Project
Consent Counts Statement
Power Exchange Statement
Consent Counts Mission
Consent Counts Legal Issues
Community Assistance Guides
Consent and BDSM: The State of the Law - BDSM activity, even where clearly consensual, can be and frequently is prosecuted under state criminal laws dealing with assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault or sexual abuse.
Consent Counts Survey -  NCSF Survey to gauge respondents' views on consent in a BDSM context. 
Guide for Groups - Guide for groups involved in BDSM-Leather_Fetish, swinging, and polyamory lifestyles 
Is This Assault - Guide for determining wheither a consent violation can legaly be considered assault
Dealing with Assault - understand your rights and options when it comes to consent violations. 
Kink Aware Victim Services - Victim Services associated with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects that are kink-aware
BDSM vs Assault Wallet Card  - Text for a wallet-sized card that explains consent on the context of BDSM
In the Aftermath - A guide for victims of sexual assault and/or intimate partner violence in the BDSM community
When The Levee Breaks - A guide to dealing with and avoiding arrest and prosecution in BDSM scenes
Community Resources
Community Discussion Guide (Coming Soon)
Survey on Consent (Coming soon) 

Sunday, 06 March 2011 17:35

What Is Incident Reporting & Response

NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response was created to provide assistance to individuals and groups within the alternative sexual expression communities. If you engage in SM, fetish, swing or polyamory practices, and are being persecuted or discriminated against because of it, please contact NCSF. If your group or business is being harassed by religious political extremists or if you need help doing outreach to your local law enforcement, please contact NCSF.  GET HELP NOW!

Feeling alone in your fight for your rights? NCSF's Incident Response Program may be able to help.The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)’s Incident Reporting & Response (IRR) Program uses three primary criteria for taking a case:

  1. The issue must openly, directly, and specifically relate to BDSM, swing or poly activities between consenting adults; in other words, the problems you face must relate to or be caused from your involvement in BDSM, swing or poly without question.
  2. The issue must be one whose outcome or precedent could affect not just the individual filing the complaint, but potentially a significant number of people with the same, or similar, problem.
  3. The incident needs to have a reasonable chance of a successful resolution; usually indicating that the individual filing has not also been found guilty of a crime other than behaviors currently considered illegal relating to BDSM, swing or poly.

 

 


Incident Reporting & Response - 2014 Report

By Susan Wright

            NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response helps people who are being discriminated against because they are kinky and/or nonmonogamous: 184 requests for help were received in 2014. One-fourth of the cases evolved into weeks- or months-long projects, requiring the education of a number of legal, medical and mental health professionals about kink. Other professionals who requested information or resources to better serve kinky people included: academics, social services, vanilla nonprofit organizations & events, authors, merchant services, and insurance brokers.

            The drop in IRR requests can be partly attributed to the increased page views on NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals database, with over 1,200 kinky people directly accessing KAP in 2014 to find a lawyer, therapist or other professional rather than asking NCSF for help through Incident Reporting & Response. Recognizing the need for more professionals to be listed in KAP, in 2014 NCSF joined forces with GayLawNet, a free referral database of gay-friendly attorneys. GayLawNet also began offering a Kink Aware Professional category for their lawyers to self-identify as kink aware.

            Of the 184 requests for assistance, the majority dealt with BDSM while only 6 involved polyamory/swing issues:

73 criminal issues

33 child custody

26 requests for info from professionals

20 kink group issues

10 discrimination issues

5 job discrimination

6 media related incidents

4 divorce

4 civil law issues

3 outings

Criminal issues

            The 73 requests that involved criminal issues typically took the most time and effort to help resolve, including finding kink-aware legal representation and educating relevant professionals to remove kink as a barrier to services. The requests break down as follows:

42 – assistance with victim services, reporting an assault, sexual assault, blackmail or stalking to the police, and obtaining restraining orders

13 – referrals for kink-aware defense attorneys

6 – assisting sex workers who were arrested

6 – assisting people in dealing with: probation, sex offenders, sex traffickers

5 – research on state criminal laws and contracts

Child Custody/Divorce

            In 2014, there was a significant drop in requests for help with child custody/divorce issues. That is due to the change in the DSM-5 criteria, which made it clear that people who are kinky are not mentally ill:

2014 – 37 people

2013 – * see note

2012 – 87 people

2011 – 115 people

2010 – 125 people

2009 – 132 people

            An even bigger change due to the DSM-5 can be found in the percentage of kinky parents who now retain child custody. More kinky parents who come to NCSF for help are successful in removing kink as an issue in family court and with social service workers and Child Protective Services. Of the 33 cases, 3 are still ongoing, but of those that assigned custody:

2014 – 89% (27 out of 30 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.

2012 – 53% (41 out of 77 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.

2011 – 23% (23 out of 101 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.

2010 – 12% (13 out of 109 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.

Groups

            There was also a drop in the number of requests from BDSM, swing and polyamory educational and social groups. Most people are now aware that they need to get professional advice in setting up their clubs and association papers, and it is common knowledge how to produce an event legally. As a result, NCSF received fewer requests for establishing a nonprofit or dealing with zoning laws, and instead primarily assisted groups in handling adversarial members, liability issues, doing outreach to local law enforcement, and handling media incidents. NCSF helped 20 kink groups in 2014 vs. 77 in 2012.

            Requests for help with swing and polyamory issues dropped to less than 3% of the total requests in 2014 compared to nearly 9% in 2012 and nearly 5% in 2011. There has been a significant drop in the number of house parties as Lifestyle events have shifted toward a business model that uses club venues, cruise ships and hotels. This means fewer busted house parties, and less need for NCSF services.

            The decline in discrimination against nonmonogamists may also be due in part to the success of gay marriage. The mainstream media covers relationship issues like nonmonogamy much more positively than it did five years ago. According to the NCSF Media Updates, of the articles that involved nonmonogamy as a subject:

2014 – 53 articles: 77% were positive and 23% were negative.

2013 – 42 articles: 81% were positive and 19% were negative.

2012 – 21 articles: 62% were positive and 38% were negative.

2011 – 33 articles: 30% were positive and 70% were negative.

2010 – 50 articles: 16% were positive and 84% were negative.

For updates and details on IRR requests, look for our quarterly IRR reports in the NCSF Newsletter. Sign up by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

* Note: From 2002-2011, NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response received over 500 requests every year. In 2012, that number dropped to 474, likely due to the change in the DSM-5 and an increased use of KAP. The IRR data for 2013 was destroyed by Leigha Fleming when she deleted her emails and documentation from the NCSF server. Some people have reported receiving no response last year, and that may have contributed to fewer people coming to NCSF this year. Susan Wright took over as director of IRR in January, 2014.


 

Unfortunately, due to limited resources the NCSF is only able to take the cases that meet the criteria set by our mission. All of our work is done by volunteers and we accept no payment for our services.

We are however happy to receive donations earmarked specifically for use in the IRR Program. Click here to donate,  Make sure you note "Incident Reporting & Response" or "IRR" in the comment box if you want to restrict your donation. We do provide basic information as resources dictate and referrals to professionals as part of our Kink Aware Professionals database.

The criteria for acceptance listed were developed to meet the primary concerns of our voting constituencies, our Coalition Partners. When the NCSF agrees to take a case the impact can be realized by all of our constituents as a whole and therefore it is up to the policies set in motion by NCSF Coalition Partners to decide whether existing resources allow for a case to be handled effectively.

Wednesday, 01 July 2009 15:00

NCSF Can Help...

NCSF Publishes Important Information for Your Mental Health; NCSF and the Foundation are proud to announce two new and valuable publications: A Guide to Choosing a Kink-Aware Therapist, and the Therapists Guide to Polyamory.

The BDSM Survey is up. Take a look!

If you are seeking a Kink Aware Professional (KAP).
Our KAP program allows professionals who are friendly to BDSM, swing, and poly individuals to list themselves as "kink friendly." It serves as a resource for people to self-refer for help from theraputic, legal and other professionals who will not prejudge based on the consensual adult activities of our constituents. We've recently added documents for "How to Choose a Kink Aware Therapist" in long and short form as well as a booklet geared for those in the theraputic community that focuses on poly issues. 

If you are seeking assistance or our Incident Response Program
Criteria for acceptance include consideration of whether a significant issue relevant to NCSF's primary constituencies is at stake, what  impact can be realized for our constituents as a whole if NCSF gets involved, and whether existing resources allow for a case to be handled effectively.

Wednesday, 01 July 2009 15:00

DSM Revision Project

The American Psychiatric Association has formed working committees to revise by 2011 its Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM), the definitive resource on the Diagnostic Criteria for all mental disorders. Statements currently within the DSM Paraphilias criteria are contradicted by scientific evidence, therefore NCSF must conclude that the interpretation of the Paraphilias criteria has been politically – not scientifically – based. This politically motivated interpretation subjects BDSM practitioners, fetishists and cross-dressers to bias, discrimination and social sanctions without any scientific basis. We call on the American Psychiatric Association to remove or drastically restructure the Paraphilias section in the DSM.

The American Psychiatric Association's Paraphilias Subworkgroup Agrees: Kinky is NOT a Diagnosis!

In the proposals for the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM-V), alternative sexual behavior has been depathologized. NCSF applauds the American Psychiatric Association's Paraphilias Subworkgroup's revisions which state that you can be a fetishist, transvestite, sadist or masochist without having a mental disorder. More work needs to be done but this is an important first step!

Read more about the project. Included is relevant PR responses from the revision committee members as well as our responses to them.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007 09:27

Consent Counts Project

In 2007, NCSF organized a leather leadership round table at the Creating Change conference to discuss the goals of the BDSM-leather-fetish communities. The number one priority was determined to be the decriminalization of BDSM.

A subsequent town hall meeting at LLC was held to further discuss this goal and to establish an outline for a working plan for this 10-15 year project. This is a community wide project with participation by national groups as well as activists to help determine the plan to accomplish this goal.

Earlier this year, it was determined that it would be in the best interest of this project for NCSF to take a leadership role. Since NCSF had already established the DSM project as a major area of focus, it made sense to also add the Consent Counts project as a major focus.

Judy Guerin, former Executive Director of NCSF and long-time sexual freedom activist, recently re-joined NCSF as the Consent Counts project director. For more information, download our Consent Counts pdf.

You can read our Media Updates on our Blog, or sign up for NCSF Announcements, Media Updates and Newsletters with the button to the left.

Friday, 07 May 2010 04:42

2009 Incident Response Report

In 2009, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) again took the lead in defending the rights of individuals and groups in the SM-leather-fetish, swing and polyamory communities. NCSF's coalition of over 40 educational and social groups is committed to creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that advances equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual expression.

NCSF's Incident Response team is directed by Director Leigha Fleming. In total, over 482 individuals, groups, attorneys, prosecutors, and businesses contacted NCSF for help in 2009. Each incident sometimes required only one or two phone calls, but some evolved into much larger projects.

NCSF received 482 distinct inquiries/requests for assistance. 337 required more than one contact/response to resolve, often requiring multiple contacts.

It is difficult to categorize many incident requests as clearly falling into one camp or another. Many overlap in categories. For example, many of our custody/divorce related issues involve at least 2 of our core constituent groups (i.e. SM/leather/fetish and poly for example). In trying to do a statistical breakdown of the requests, we placed it in the category it most clearly matched.

  • 11% were requests regarding SM/abuse/domestic violence issues
  • 36% were regarding criminal complaint issues
  • 3% were regarding employment discrimination
  • 27.5% were regarding child custody/divorce issues
  • 17.5% were related to SM/leather/fetish group issues
  • 1% were classed as non-employment discrimination
  • 3% were related to swing community issues
  • .5% were regarding online obscenity issues
  • 3.5% were classed as “other”

 

Of the inquires:

  • 95.5% were driven by SM/leather/fetish issues
  • 3% by swing
  • 1% by poly
  • 0.5% by other

2009 saw an increased number of requests around criminal and domestic violence or SM/abuse related issues. NCSF worked with more than 46 attorneys representing defendants in criminal cases. In addition, we worked with more than 14 district attorneys and prosecutors related to SM issues. The vast majority of these criminal cases revolved around domestic abuse or consensual sex/play issues. There is a clear need for education within our own communities about the role and limits of consent and for education to police authorities about the differences between SM and abuse. Our Consent Counts project hopes to address some of these issues. There is a great need for educational within our own communities regarding consent  and a great need for change in laws related to consensual adult sexual expression.

The implementation of KAP under NCSF’s administration resulted in fewer requests for referrals because we were able to refer the request to our site. As we improve the KAP administration, and resource, the number of requests for referrals that need to be handled by a person will drop since we’ll be able to refer people to the KAP database. The new administration tools for KAP in our website overhaul will also make the use of this tool much more efficient for both user and professional. In addition, NCSF has implemented new criteria for incident response. The document outlining the changes is included in the packet.

We continue to receive a number of requests for assistance from groups, businesses, and other support organizations who want information about how to operate legally, do law enforcement outreach, file for non-profit status, deal with the media or the press, do hotel/event outreach, or do research around zoning or other legal issues. We also continue to receive requests for assistance involving parents who were engaged in child custody and divorce cases. Parents continue to experience difficulties gaining child custody due to their interest in SM, swing or poly activities. NCSF worked with a number of attorneys representing parents accused of being unfit because of their alternative lifestyle interests. In many cases, because of information we were able to provide, the courts decided that alternative sexual expression alone was not cause to impugn a parent's ability to be a good parent.  We have developed new workshops / FAQs for parents dealing with custody/divorce and child protective services.

NCSF’s implementation of SaleForce will help us manage our Incident Response requests in a significantly more professional and consistent way. It will provide for direct access by someone needing help through a new customer service portal and it will allow NCSF staff/volunteers to track and log all calls and action on any given request.

NCSF is here to help you -- the SM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with discrimination, persecution, or harassment because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can submit a request for assistance online or find a Kink Aware Professional (KAP) on our website as well at www.ncsfreedom.org. Emergency contact information is available by calling our office at 410.539.4824, 24 hours per day.

Please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are committed to making a difference. Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund raiser and donate to NCSF!

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In the News

In the News

  • Press Release - NCSF Marching Forward

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE National Coalition for Sexual Freedom     Marching Forward: NCSF proactively advocates for sexual freedom   November 19, 2008 - NCSF is proud to be the only group in the country with a national mission committed to changing the political, legal and social environment for those involved with the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. The new board of NCSF was voted in at the annual Coalition Partner…






    Tags: DSM Incident Response KAP Media Outreach EOP
What is SM?
Publications

Publications

  • EOP Overview
    EOP Overview Mission Statement and a brief description of goals and presentations offered
  • Law Enforcement Field Guide to SM
    Law Enforcement Field Guide to SM The purpose of this brochure is to provide law enforcement with a basic level of understanding about adults whose sexuality and lovemaking includes consensual sadomasochistic (SM) activities, and to provide information to assist you when you encounter an SM event.
  • SM vs. Abuse - Leather Leadership Conference Statement
    SM vs. Abuse - Leather Leadership Conference Statement This brochure is intended to help law enforcement and social services professionals understand the difference between abusive relationships vs. consensual sadomasochism (SM).
  • Wallet Card
    Wallet Card (Word document) A pocket reference for dealing with law enforcement
Presentations

Presentations

  • Approaching Your Local Authorities
    Approaching Your Local Authorities The purpose of this presentation is to educate law enforcement, prosecutors, or other authorities about SM-Leather- Fetish and/or swing practices on behalf of a local group(s). …
  • Child Custody & Divorce: Considerations for Alternative Lifestyles
    Child Custody & Divorce: Considerations for Alternative Lifestyles The problems that arise in child custody disputes between spouses and partners create special concerns for members of the SM/leather/fetish/poly communities. In…
  • Doing SM Related Legal Research
    Doing SM Related Legal Research The law is interpreted – sometimes to our favor, and sometimes not.  For example, while the NCSF firmly believes that consensual SM activity between adults…
  • Event/hotel negotiation
    The purpose of this material is to assist SM/Leather/Fetish groups who are considering hosting an alternative lifestyle event. The goal in presenting this material is to assist in developing a…
  • Field guide for law enforcement
    The following is a handout prepared by The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom aimed at educating law enforcement on the realities of SM. The purpose of this handout is to…
  • How to choose an attorney
    Choosing a lawyer can be difficult, especially if you have to do it at the time you are arrested.  If at all possible, establishing a working relationship with an attorney…
  • Juvenile/CPS/Child Services for BDSM Parents
    Juvenile/CPS/Child Services for BDSM Parents The concerns that result from contact with local and state child welfare authorities are occasionally troublesome for members of the SM/leather/fetish/poly communities. It is often…
  • Life & Death Issues for the Alternative Community
    The purpose of this presentation is to acquaint members of the alternative lifestyle communities  with issues that may arise from the nature of their relationships both during life as well…
  • Police Interactions ? What to do when you deal with police
    Police Interactions ? What to do when you deal with police Your basic legal rights and responsibilities may not always be clearly defined by law enforcement officials. If stopped or…
  • Protecting Your Event
    Protecting Your Event There are many considerations organizers must contend with when planning a large event. Large events include educational and social conferences, leather contests, weekend play parties, vendor markets,…
  • Protecting Yourself Legally
    Protecting Yourself Legally Members of the SM/leather/fetish communities have always had some level of concern regarding the issues of privacy, discretion, and personal security. The Radical Right, employers, ex-partners, and…
  • SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
    SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues It is important for SM/leather/fetish groups to have an understanding of the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement and of the…
  • Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
    Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues It is important for swing groups and businesses to have an understanding of the relationship between the swing community and law enforcement, as…
  • The Alleged Domestic Violence Call
    The Alleged Domestic Violence Call It is important for SM/leather/fetish persons to have an understanding of the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement and of the numerous legal…
  • Traveling With Toys
    Traveling With Toys While there have always been security issues involved in travel, the current political climate, as well as new legislation, has changed the procedures used to achieve security,…
  • What is SM Presentation
    For detailed information about the content of this presentation, please visit What is SM?
  • Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses
    Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses Zoning and permit issues are commonly used as a tool of local governments when seeking a method to attack SM groups and…

Request a workshop for your local
community, event or group.

Educational Outreach: We're Making a Difference

  • Over 20 different workshops available for presentation by trained professionals.
  • Over 400 EOP workshops presented across the country in the last 12 years.

About Educational Outreach

The Education Outreach Program is designed to help educate those inside and outside the community about important issues relevant to those who practice consensual BDSM, swinging and polyamory.

Program Goals:
  • To assist SM-Leather-Fetish, swing and polyamory groups and communities in their efforts to educate themselves about issues that affect their communities and individual relationships
  • To provide law enforcement and other government authorities with information about alternative sexuality as appropriate
  • To assist alternative sexuality groups and communities in their efforts to educate and work with their local law enforcement and other authorities
Contacts:

EOP@ncsfreedom.org
Or please complete the
Presentation Request Form

Help send our trained presenters to give important educational workshops.
Join NCSF and help bring workshops to groups both inside and outside our communities.