Hi everyone. I'm really sorry for the rather extended absence but I found that I was spreading myself a bit thin with trying to catch up on my college workd after I'd been ill. The backlog has been cleared now so I can devote a portion of myself to other equally important matters.
I'd like to briefly talk about an issue which is germane to the purpose of this blog but is also a potential emotional and political minefield. It has been announced that the rules governing CRB checks for all people coming into contact with children for whatever reason are to be relaxed.
You may, or indeed may not, be surprised to learn that I'm completely in favour of this relaxation. While I believe that all people who intend to work with children on a regular basis should be rigorously checked I think it's nonsensical that people such as visiting authors and one-off speakers should have to go through this rigmarole.
At both primary and grammar school we had many visting speakers and one feature of those special events was that they were attended by all the staff whose pupils were in the hall rather than in the form room. Even without the staff present a speaker at grammar school who had nefarious intentions would have needed to molest at least 30 children simultaneously; quite often it would be the whole of the lower school in the hall which was just under 200 children. I don't want to be flippant about such a serious issue but the scenario is surpassingly silly.
Obviously I wouldn't want to see a return to the laissez faire attitude of my childhood when a teenager was able to abuse me for three years within the confines of a tiny, remote village with nobody apparently suspecting a thing. Conversely I would hate to see children denied the opportunity to meet fine authors such as Phillip Pullman because he finds the idea of the CRB check insulting so decides not to offer his services.
Let's be clear about something. I don't believe that there is any greater incidence of child abuse than there has ever been. That we are more aware of the problem is clear and the apparent increase in offences is far more likely to be an increase in reporting and prosecution. This is a good thing!
Children need to be able to be children and that will always present a certain level of risk, be that the risk of falling out of a tree or into a river, or anything else. What is needed is a way to make children more aware of the real risks without making them scared of everything. Sadly I don't see a world where child abuse will stop but the risks can be minimised with a considered approach.
Above all, I'm talking to you parents, teachers and others who live and work with children, we must listen to children when they tell us that bad things are happening to them. When I was a child it was assumed that a child was lying unless there was concrete evidence to support a claim. Let's make sure that world goes forever.
We were victims of childhood abuse in our differing ways and here we'll share something of what happened to us.
Your comments and contributions are very welcome - and if you're a Survivor of childhood abuse then please, share your story with us.
And if you can, then please help us to all help each other by adding to our Links List of resources for Survivors of Abuse.
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