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Where Does the Danger Really Lie?

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Where Does the Danger Really Lie?

Post  Susan on Sat 30 Aug - 13:01

The Myth of Stranger Sexual Abuse

Society has become so fixated on stranger abductions and the myth of child abuse happening at the hands of strangers that it has entirely overlooked the unpleasant truth: the vast majority of child sexual abuse is at the hands of family members and friends. It appears that it is easier for society to find a scapegoat to blame for the abuse of children rather than to examine why children are abused in such epidemic numbers by their own families.

Yet the statistics once again entirely debunk the myth. In a July 2000 study by the NCJJ entitled Sexual Assault of Children as Reported to Law Enforcement, 34.2% of child sex offenders were family members and 58.7% were acquaintances, while only 7% of child sexual abuse was perpetrated by strangers. Amongst younger victims, the percentage of family perpetrators was even higher. In 48.6% of cases involving victims between zero and five years of age, the perpetrator was a family member, while it was 42.4% for victims between the ages of six and eleven. The percentage of perpetrators that were strangers for these age ranges was 3.1% and 4.7%, respectively.

To stop at the incidence of child sexual abuse does not even reveal the total extent of child abuse in the United States. Child Help USA compiled data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services in September 2003. It discovered that of all child abuse that occurred in 2001, only 10% was sexual abuse. The leading forms of abuse were neglect (59%), which included medical neglect, and physical abuse (19%). 81% of all abusers were the child’s parents. 59% of the abusers were females.

The weight of the evidence suggests overwhelmingly that the scourge of child abuse starts in the home. Only when society begins to ask itself the painful question of why this abuse is so prevalent and why families, which ought to be safe havens for children, are so violent towards them, will it be able to overcome this epidemic of violence. It is time for us all to stop looking for scapegoats and start looking in the mirror.
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Re: Where Does the Danger Really Lie?

Post  Guest on Thu 4 Sep - 20:29

Ambersuz wrote:The Myth of Stranger Sexual Abuse

Society has become so fixated on stranger abductions and the myth of child abuse happening at the hands of strangers that it has entirely overlooked the unpleasant truth: the vast majority of child sexual abuse is at the hands of family members and friends. It appears that it is easier for society to find a scapegoat to blame for the abuse of children rather than to examine why children are abused in such epidemic numbers by their own families.

Yet the statistics once again entirely debunk the myth. In a July 2000 study by the NCJJ entitled Sexual Assault of Children as Reported to Law Enforcement, 34.2% of child sex offenders were family members and 58.7% were acquaintances, while only 7% of child sexual abuse was perpetrated by strangers. Amongst younger victims, the percentage of family perpetrators was even higher. In 48.6% of cases involving victims between zero and five years of age, the perpetrator was a family member, while it was 42.4% for victims between the ages of six and eleven. The percentage of perpetrators that were strangers for these age ranges was 3.1% and 4.7%, respectively.

To stop at the incidence of child sexual abuse does not even reveal the total extent of child abuse in the United States. Child Help USA compiled data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services in September 2003. It discovered that of all child abuse that occurred in 2001, only 10% was sexual abuse. The leading forms of abuse were neglect (59%), which included medical neglect, and physical abuse (19%). 81% of all abusers were the child’s parents. 59% of the abusers were females.

The weight of the evidence suggests overwhelmingly that the scourge of child abuse starts in the home. Only when society begins to ask itself the painful question of why this abuse is so prevalent and why families, which ought to be safe havens for children, are so violent towards them, will it be able to overcome this epidemic of violence. It is time for us all to stop looking for scapegoats and start looking in the mirror.


It is knowing that children are not even safe from sexual abuse in their own homes that makes me and feel so sad that this sort of thing is happening to innocent little children and going unnoticed to the outside world - I can never ever understand how anyone could hurt a child in this way - the mental damage to them must be horrific for a little child to live with ....
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Re: Where Does the Danger Really Lie?

Post  Susan on Thu 4 Sep - 21:25

Its very sad....as a child i never knew any of this existed because I had a lovely childhood....but we take it for granted until we grow up and hear that this goes on and not all children are as fortunate and thats when one realises how lucky we really are

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Advocate for play says children need to be free-range

Post  pm on Wed 18 Mar - 10:15

esearch last week revealed the parental fears that keep children indoors. As part of the Western Mail’s Our Wales: Our Children series, Mike Greenaway explains why we should be bringing up our children free-range



FREE-range chickens – the ones that have a happy life outdoors doing what comes naturally – are the ones we don’t feel so guilty about.

But what about free-range children? If we had an ideal it would be that our children could also live a happy life outdoors doing what comes naturally – playing with their friends.

Free-range children are independent, resourceful and develop resilience – they can get from A to B on their own or together with friends. They can learn to negotiate tricky situations, resolve conflict and take physical and emotional risks, which means they develop a robustness that helps them survive in this world.

They also have a different kind of fun and experience from the one they have with their family or at school. All of which contributes to their health and wellbeing – so what’s not to like?

There is a range of reasons why we see so few children out and about these days; none of which they can be held accountable for.

Increased traffic and numbers of cars parked in our streets, and the way our built environment tends to be legislated and designed to suit adults’ needs and not those of children, are two obvious examples.

It may seem that these are perennial problems and that we can do nothing to improve them, but in other countries, and in small pockets in Wales, creative solutions have been found to work.

We just need to push for them and apply them.

But the biggest reason why children don’t play out so much any more is us – our attitudes, our perceptions, our concern about what others might think.

The most harmful of these appears to be the perception and the promotion of the idea that our children are at risk of harm from strangers the minute they leave the company of adults.

Statistics tell us children are far more in danger of being harmed by people they know and that is thousands of times more chance of them being killed in a traffic accident than being abducted.

However, they live under the tyranny of our fear for them and we don’t let them out of our sight. We even convey our anxieties to them – very small children know of the isolated incidence of the abduction of Madeleine McCann and believe they too are at risk.

Media stories of “feral children” also don’t help. There are comparatively few children who are not cared for, who roam because they don’t have strong emotional ties or secure homes to return to.

Knife crime has existed since knives were invented and yet the impression given in the media is every young person on the street is a potential murderer or victim.

Perhaps we adults are scared to rear free-range children because we don’t want others to think we are negligent. We are encouraged to display our love for our children through consumerism, and almost discouraged from making the most of what is freely available, when very often our children would like to just be outside with their friends.

In caring for our children and wanting the best for them we have fallen prey to a panic about them – they must succeed, they must be safe. The irony is that in our fear of children coming to harm or failing in society we act in ways that put them in harm’s way.

Children in Wales today are far more likely to be in danger of early death due to heart disease and diabetes because they are kept indoors and over protected, than of being harmed by strangers, knives, drugs or cars.

Recent experience has shown that when it snows and the world stops, children still go out to play in the same numbers they have always done. It is as if we have stepped back 50 years. So it is clear that it is still possible for children to play outside. Many of us know this but feel powerless to do anything about it. We need to regain a sense of perspective as to how safe our children are.

When we see children playing outside we should see them not as a nuisance, but as evidence of a balanced society that places a high value on children and their play.

There is safety in numbers. Word must spread, more children must play outside, and then more parents and children will feel confident they can play outside.

We can live under the tyranny of cars and fear of strangers, or we can choose to rise against it and find ways to support our children to be free-range – happy, healthy and resilient – today, because childhood only happens once.

Mike Greenaway is director of Play Wales and closely involved in BBC Wales’ What Are We Doing to Our Kids? season - link to PDF full report



Source: Wales Online
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