I well remember my first days in my boarding school - the wolf whistles from the prefects' open windows as we passed in and out of our boarding quarters. Prettier boys were openly rated as desirable. It was in my second term, when I was 13 years old, that I first received a note from a 17-year-old in the school rugby team asking would I meet him for a smoke. This was a euphemism for intended sexual contact.
The five things you need to know on Wednesday 9 July 2014... 1) OPEN UP YOUR 'DIRT BOOKS'! Will we see full disclosure? From the Times: "West...
I think it is time to prioritise child abuse as a public health issue like heart disease, smoking and obesity. These diseases get a high profile in part because they have a cost, not only in human misery but also for the economy. The NSPCC is currently researching the economic costs to the UK of child sexual abuse and it is likely that it will be billions of pounds of year.
There is a sad and recurrent theme in many of the worst child abuse scandals - of a child's voice not having been heard. Poor Daniel Pelka, seen looking through bins for food at his school but whose suffering at the hands of his mother and partner was not discovered until it was tragically too late...
How about a resolution that will change other people's lives and yours too? ChildLine is urgently seeking volunteers to go into schools to talk directly with nine-11-year-old children about different forms of abuse and about staying safe. You don't need any previous experience and you will be given first class training and support.
Today's overhaul of the guidelines for sexual offences, which the NSPCC has been calling for, is an important step forward in both recognising the harm done to victims and in justice being done.
Children's Centres are Britain's institutional expression of our commitment to better childhoods. Established over a decade ago they are the spaces where a wide range of health, early education and specialist support services are brought together under one roof (or at least within a 'hub') so that parents with young children do not have to go from pillar to post navigating services for themselves.
It's absolutely right that the national media crawl all over what happened to Hamzah Khan. Anyone who cares about children will be horrified by the detail of his suffering and will see clearly many moments when he might have been noticed. But it's not enough simply to cry that "lessons must be learned". We must ensure that they are.
The sharing of self-generated sexually explicit images or videos by mobile phone or online, is now commonplace amongst young people to the point that it is considered 'mundane' whether or not young people engage in it themselves. And it seems that lots do... Now, I know that young people want to experiment and explore their sexuality. And the thrill of taking risks and pushing boundaries is always going to be part of growing up. Frankly we are not going to stop sexting merely by instructing young people not to do it, or by pointing out that explicit under age images are illegal and they risk arrest. But I am deeply concerned that risks are not yet fully understood.
Those who had been silenced by their experiences and by their abusers for so long because they felt they were in some way to blame, and that they were the only ones, began to realise that there were many others with a story to tell. So why hasn't there been an increase in arrests and charges for cases of child sexual abuse that may have been committed years ago?
Imagine you were desperate to tell people about something but when you tried no sound came out. Like you'd had some awful spell cast on you that meant only you could hear the words. That's how I think it might feel to be a child who has suffered abuse but struggles to find adults who will act upon their concerns.