Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Myth of Stranger Danger

I am writing about the concept of 'stranger danger' at the moment, & I am sure all of the faces above are not only recognisable to you, but give us all a chill. But another child has died today, & although it is too soon to draw any conclusions, those being questioned are known to the family.
Most children who experience abuse do so at the hands of those related to them, others they are acquainted with, or those who have a trusted place within their family. Strangers present the least risk in terms of child protection, which is why the proposed Sarah's law is not only almost irrelevant, but actually runs the risk of obscuring those who do present the greatest risk to children.
Children are vulnerable, & as adults, it is our serious responsibility to protect them all. It might seem logical to expose those on the register of sex offenders (ViSOR) but, not only are many paedophiles not listed because they have not been convicted, it is also illegal to reveal the names of the victims which would prevent most names on the register from being revealed.
The media has done a great job in lifting some of the taboos around abuse, enabling survivors to come forward, but children still fear breaking up their families. It is often many years, & often well into a damaged adult life, before intra-familial abuse is revealed. Even then some children are ostracised from families who don't want to believe them.
My heart aches for those who have to live with the loss of a child, or who are living with the knowledge that their child has been abused.The predatory The predatory paedophile does exist, that sociopath group are probably not treatable, & our children should be secure from the threat they present. BUT not speaking to strangers is not the only message we should be giving them.

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