Our obsession with scandal and high profile abusers obscures just how much of an epidemic child abuse is. Instead of only focussing on the latest juicy story we must pay more attention to the signs that could help us interrupt and prevent child abuse. When children run away from home or care, they are often running from something. Theirs are childhoods blighted by abuse, violence, family instability, and parental drug or alcohol misuse. For girls particularly, running away can be an attempt to escape sexual violence and abuse.
Last week, the House of Lords Select Committee published their report. In it lies their findings from a call for evidence last year, and it is a maste...
There are currently over three million people in Iraq who have been forced to flee their homes due to the violence and destruction caused by Isis and other internal sectarian conflicts. The country is also hosting some 250,000 of the millions of refugees who have fled the war in Syria.
Whilst the average child in the UK receives 8.8 Easter eggs, and one in five reportedly make themselves sick on chocolate over Easter, there are thousands of children in poverty across the UK who face having nothing at all. Thankfully, for the last few weeks, food banks across the UK have seen so many local heroes come forward to help children in poverty to have a happier Easter.
First, I've a personal interest to declare. My twin sister Jenny, who died nearly 20 years ago when we were 27, had cerebral palsy. It's been part of the fabric of my life as the non-disabled twin. I certainly wouldn't need an awareness month to bring it to my attention.
It might seem like an unholy pairing but we go back years, the Sally Army and me. They have always managed to build a bridge to me across my life - from saints to a sinner! They saved kids near my street when I was a boy with their food kitchens, helped me as a care worker and have supported people I know. That's why I have chosen to do a TV show with them. Everyone remembers the Sally Army, as I used to call them, I'm just not sure everyone quite knows the extent of the work they do. It's their 150th anniversary year so I wanted to take a closer look and get involved.
At the start of the month I returned to Sierra Leone after more than two decades away. As the country of my mother's birth, I spent a lot of time there as a child and my memories centred around the people, their energy and enthusiasm. The civil war and Ebola have undeniably taken their toll on these things in my absence, it certainly hasn't destroyed them.
The Trussell Trust is a charity with both volunteers and clients, who take everyone, and help everyone they can. There seems to be a great misunderstanding about what we do, who we are and who we help and how we do so. Offering someone a tea, a slice of cake and asking "How are you" means more than I thought it could.
I have many friends on ESA and I am on this benefit myself and having had many a conservation with them about how their job searching is going and experiences in work. There is a real sense of a loss of faith in the employment system for which there are lots of reasons, that all boil down to the same thing a lack of understanding.
This week is World Down's Syndrome Awareness Week. It's a time to celebrate those we know who have an extra copy of the 21st Chromosome. A time to celebrate diversity. To encourage inclusion. To dispel myths and to educate.
Despite all the good words of the act and policies the reality of life is so different. Reasonable adjustments are not being made and all too often people with disabilities are being seen as a cost burden.
I live in a part of London not well-served by accessible public transport. My commute would take over two hours each way and involve three buses, as no local tube stations are accessible. Trying to get on a bus as a wheelchair user in rush hour - especially when so many have unreliable ramps - is often an impossible task.
My life as an Olympic athlete never seems far away, I meet new people every day who, surprisingly, still have their exciting stories of 'where they were' in 2004, the moment I ran into the history books by winning two gold medals for Great Britain in the 800m and 1500m Athletics events. Or when I am travelling around the world hopefully motivating and inspiring individuals with my old anecdotes, reminiscing as I watch for the millionth time my "moment of glory". Until now...
Looking back, it strikes me as a little odd that we could openly discuss things like fertility and other physical issues which seemingly had priority. And yet we never really touched on another significant topic - mental health issues, and the impact they can have on people with physical disabilities.
Some parts of the media generally pounce on any opportunity to declaim ADHD as made up, or bad parenting, or a money-making invention of pharma companies. And every time a story like this breaks, it makes life for parents like me - parents of a child with ADHD - that little bit more difficult.
PR is the bedrock on which our government is built. It's right at the heart of the way it operates. We have never had a more media-savvy government or PR-aware leadership. So why did they think they could spin their way around the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) disability cuts? To understand why they truly believed that the great British people would swallow the proposed PIP cuts you need to go back in time. Quite a long way.