Sunday, 19 June 2011

Recommendation 4

The next thing that is important is to establish an atmosphere where abuse is no longer a taboo subject. So here is the next recommendation.
The school shall, as part of the information pack provided to new parents, emphasise the importance of having parents explain to their children about inappropriate touching, and how if children are touched in a way that makes them uncomfortable by adults at the school or elsewhere, they should tell their parents about it immediately.
The key to preventing abusers from doing much harm is to ensure that their activities are reported as early as possibly by their victims. Remember that an abuser will be trying his hardest to ensure that everything remains a secret and that the child tells nobody. This is made far more difficult and risky for an abuser if the child has already been told by his or her parents about what to do. For some abusers, it might deter them from trying it on at school at all. For those who do the chances are far higher that they will be found out quickly.

And this is the key point. Paedophiles will inevitably be attracted to occupations that involve supervising children. Priests and teachers are two such occupations. We have no means of reliably identifying a potential abuse before he has actually committed any abuse, our psychological tests are so inexact as to be essentially useless, they will wrongly highlight far more perfectly safe adults than they will finger those who are a true danger.

So what must be done is to minimise the number of victims paedophiles have access to. And that in turn means lots of vigilance with nobody being regarded as above suspicion, and an atmosphere of openness where the children feel able to tell people if something happens that they are uncomfortable with. Only by this method can abusers be found earloy and removed immediately from contact with more victims.

The scandal of the catholic Church, in Ireland, in the US and elsewhere, is that the church's policies were the exact opposite of this, and that they could hardly have been better designed to ensure the maximum degree of harm to to largest possible number of victims had that been their intended purpose. Of course, it wasn't the purpose of the church's procedures, merely the effect of them.

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