On March 3, 2015, David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, spoke to a summit in London about child sexual abuse. So pervasive is the issue, that he wants child sexual abuse to be “upgraded to the status of ‘a national threat’, so that it is placed on a par with serious organized crime by police chiefs and elected police commissioners in their strategic planning. They will be required to cooperate with other police forces across county boundaries to safeguard children.”
I like that child abuse in any form is being addressed. In Britain, and here in the United States, it’s systemic failure that lets a child down. . . that and a culture of denial. Who wants to talk about this stuff?
But talk we must. Child sexual abuse is, perhaps, our last cultural taboo. It scares us, for our own children’s sake. It makes us sick to our stomachs that adults willfully harm innocent children. The problem is so pervasive we throw up our hands in frustration at the enormity of it. Yet we must provide children freedom from harm.
Cameron said, “Children were ignored, sometimes even blamed, and issues were swept under the carpet – often because of a warped and misguided sense of political correctness. That culture of denial which let them down so badly must be eradicated.” He’s right. (Source: The Guardian)
Did you know that the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes childhood abuse is a national health issue, and that they are working to put protocols in place for prevention and treatment?
In my own case, I was expertly guided through the labyrinth of procuring my children’s safety by a non-profit organization. At the time, laws did not exist to bring the perpetrator to justice. We helped change that, but more legislation is needed.
It might be too sweeping to suggest that a mandated reporter spend five years in jail (as Cameron proposed) if they fail to protect a child by reporting abuse… or maybe not. What do you think?