Records of the Campaign Against Pornography

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of minutes, financial records, campaign files, policy files, press cuttings, petitions and correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Campaign Against Pornography (CAP) (1987-1997) was established in 1987 as a response to Dr Clare Short MP's bill to ban erotica such as 'Page 3' in national newspapers. Its aims were 1) to promote equal opportunities for women and oppose discrimination, 2) to preserve and protect the health and safety of women and children through working towards the elimination of violent crimes against them, 3) to undertake research into the links between pornography and violence against women and children and their position in society and to publish the results of such research, 4) to gather information related to the production, publication, distribution and consumption of pornography and its effects on women and children's lives and their position in society, 5) to provide facilities for the relief of women and children affected by pornography, 6) to raise funds and receive contributions, 7) to co-operate and collaborate with any voluntary organisation and statutory authorities having similar objects and to exchange information and advice with such bodies. The group was incorporated in Apr 1989 and undertook a series of educational programmes that included training events, school workshops and seminars. It also set up a helpline and assisted with a research project with the University of Bradford's Violence Abuse and Gender Relations research unit on pornography. A number of unions and local union branches affiliated to CAP, include NUS, UNISON, CPSA and GMB. CAP focused on a number of specialised campaigns in addition to its general aims. Two main campaigns were 'Off the Shelf' (1989-c.1995), which protested the sale of 'soft porn' in retail stores, and Red Hot Dutch (c.1993) which helped prevent the launch of a hardcore porn satellite channel in 1993. Other campaign activities included petitions and picketing protests. One notable local event was the Jack the Ripper Exhibition at London Dungeon. CAP also undertook a letter writing campaign in 1995, by which time it had a number of local groups affiliated to it throughout the country. However, it ended its activities in the late 1990s through the effects of a financial crisis.

Arrangement

The records came to The Women's Library in disarray. Files have been sorted and a classification scheme has been imposed. Some weeding has been carried out on low level financial records.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is partially available for research. The catalogued portion of the collection is available for research, uncatalogued material remains unavailable. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit. The following items are closed in accordance with the Data Protection Act: 5CAP/A/4/1; 5CAP/C/3/3/1; 5CAP/C/2/1/1.

Acquisition Information

The records were deposited with the Fawcett Library by members of the organisation in 1997 and 1998. Additional records were recovered from Tindlemanor, the former headquarters of CAP in London, and deposited in 2006.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Related Material

Some records of the Campaign Against Pornography were deposited with the Feminist Library, London.