I see the Children’s Commissioner has highlighted how most sexual abuse is carried out by friends and family and up to 85% of it goes unreported. These are apparently shocking statistics but should they be so surprising?
I say this for the following reasons. For years, there was always a saying many will remember: “Children should be seen and not heard.” What on earth could that ever mean in a society always looking to keep up appearances?
The second reason is less obvious but important. Over the last few years we have seen countless historic investigations into all sorts of abuse mainly in so called institutions coupled with well-known celebrities charged and rightly convicted of such acts.
What this misses though is that it has been somewhat too easy to blame these institutions and the people who work in them and for the public and press to rather look down their noses at them and blame them for all the problems of abuse. The figures prove otherwise.
That has been a gross disservice to victims and survivors of this vile abuse and it really is time for those who are charged by politicians and the public to protect our children and keep them safe, to be given the credit they deserve instead of too often being vilified when some terrible abuse is uncovered, which let me be clear is always wrong. This will only lead to less people wanting to do this work and therefore more children being put at risk.
I support England’s Children’s Commissioner who said: “We must now wake up to and urgently address the most common form of child sexual abuse – that which takes place behind the front door within families or their trusted circles.”
How I agree.