Celebrity sex abuse: “No smoke without a fire…?”

Fire & Smoke image

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Malbert

I’ve worked for many years with young people and sexual abuse.

Like lots of my colleagues, I’ve run the gauntlet of possible false accusation. Just by working to help damaged and vulnerable children in such a sensitive area, this risk is present. It happens.

But the greatest dread is not the accusation. My conscience is clear and my practice has been upright. Always.

The dread is this: if I ever were accused, the words, “There’s no smoke without a fire,” could be applied, regardless of my innocence.

Ken Roache’s acquittal has brought this starkly to the fore once again…

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Gangs: a danger to our daughters…

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Aestusx

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Aestusx

When I think of gangs, I tend to think about groups of kids who, in some cases, might be a risk to others.

For the most part, I don’t connect gang membership itself as being risky to young people in the same gang.

But, along with abuse from other gangs this is actually what happens, particularly for girls. The following summarises the initial findings of ongoing research into the sexual abuse of girls in the context of gang membership.

So what happens in gangs…

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Calling a spade, a “spade”…

Why language about “pornography” matters…

Keyboard "porn" key...

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/sndr

Public concern about “child pornography” is growing.

In the last 12 months there has been a 40% rise in the number of reports made to the Internet Watch Foundation about potentially illegal content on the internet.

Staff at the IWF attribute this to increased public concern about the issue following recent high profile cases.

Both Tia Sharp and April Jones‘ killers are known to have accessed child abuse images online before the murders of the two young girls.

Why online pornography matters…

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Child sexual exploitation: what you need to know…

Girl upset - blnd - iStock_000001770724XSmall

Photo courtesy of ©iStcokphoto/blnd

The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSE) is widespread.

The impact on children of being coerced into sexual activity as a form of exchange, is devastating. It causes long term damage to health, educational, social and emotional well-being.

All those working with troubled young people need to have some basic knowledge about commercial sexual exploitation.

So what exactly is CSE and what can we do about it?…

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5 steps to help prevent child sexual abuse…

Image - happy kids in a circle...

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/LisaValder

Something I occasionally get asked (and often ask myself!) is, “How can I protect my kids against sexual abuse?”

We hear so many horror stories on the news – usually about worst case scenarios, like stranger abductions. Mercifully these are still very rare.

But what about sexual abuse in general? What can be done to guard against this happening to the children in our families? Good question!

In our last post on sexual abuse, we looked at what are the possible signs that a child has already been abused. Before that we looked at how we might spot behaviour in adults or teenagers that could be concerning.

Now, we get to the nub of it all – that prevention is always better than cure. So…

How can we help to protect our children against sexual abuse?

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Spotting the abused child…maybe?

Abused child sat in the corner alone...

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/TatyanaGl

On more than one occasion, friends have said to me, “I bet you see people everywhere who could be risky to kids.”

Sadly, the truthful reply is, “If only it were that easy!”

In a previous post we addressed this subject, highlighting some pointers for parents and carers to be aware of. These might be enough to warn of possible danger from a teenager or adult.

But what if it’s too late? What if someone has already harmed a child? How might we spot this possibility? If we knew this, we could intervene and get help. So…

How might I know if a child has been sexually abused?

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Spot the abuser…maybe?

Absued child - iStock_000019541609XSmall - imgorthand

Photo courtesy ©iStockPhoto/imgorthand

Sexual abuse is horrific. After many years of dealing with it, I still get shocked by what people sometimes do to children. You never get used to it.

So what sorts of things can be done to prevent sexual abuse? Because surely it’s better to stop it before it happens, than deal with the consequences?

What to look out for in people who may abuse…

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“Basically…porn is everywhere…”

Porn-key on laptop

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/sndr

Online porn is a worry for our kids…

Access to pornography online is a real concern.

Recent news from CEOP and changes in government policy are encouraging steps in the right direction. But the problem persists.

What young people say about porn…

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11 things you need to know about online child abuse…

Online abuse - RichYintage -  iStock_000002228985XSmall

Online sexual offending is changing…

Most of us know that children fall victim to sexual abuse online. But how much do we know about how it happens?

The latest threat report from CEOP (Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre) outlines a number of developments in the way offenders prey on children.

How kids get “hooked” by offenders…

Here is a quick summary of the major trends and changes in the way Britain’s estimated 50,000 online sexual offenders seek to abuse using the internet:

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Child Protection From Pornography Goes Way Beyond ISPs…

ChildEyesIn the wake of Mark Bridger’s conviction for the abduction and murder of April Jones, there has been a media hue and cry about the need to prevent access to online “child pornography.” In the cross-hairs are the internet service providers, or ISPs.

This is a cause I feel very strongly about, so I will reserve most of my ire for a future post on the subject.

However, there is something closer to home, more immediate and much more easily challenged, that requires our attention – that of the sexual imagery that our children see everyday. It is all around us. In the shop, the garage, the supermarket, the street; the kinds of places we all go. The trouble is, our children come too.

Watch this short video-post from the YourChildEyes campaign, to see what I mean.

Follow the campaign at @ChildEyesUK and Facebook.com/ChildEyes

© Jonny Matthew 2013

Child Protection & Organisational Safety…

ImageNOTA is hosting a one day conference in the midlands on the 20 June 2013, to explore the the theory, research and practice related to child protection and organisational safety.  Speakers include Marcus Erooga, Donald Findlater and Joe Sullivan.

The conference is being organised to to develop understanding of the abuse of children and young people by people in positions of organisational trust, and how this understanding can improve prevention, intervention and treatment efforts.

  • KEYNOTE 1 – Situational Prevention – What are the Lessons being Learned by Organisations that work with Children about the Prevention of Sexual Abuse? Donald Findlater, Director of Research and Development, Lucy Faithfull Foundation; Sexual Abuse Prevention Campaign, Stop It Now! UK & Ireland
  • KEYNOTE 2 – Inside the Minds of Professionals who Sexually Molest the Children with Whom they Work. Dr Joe Sullivan, Director of Behaviour Analysis & Forensic Psychology, Mentor Forensic Services, Cork, Ireland
  • KEYNOTE 3 – Creating Safer Organisations: Practical Implications of Research about Abuse in Professional Settings. Marcus Erooga, Independent Child Protection Consultant, Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Applied Childhood Studies, University of Huddersfield and Associate Editor, Journal of Sexual Aggression

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What Works in Preventing & Treating Sexual Abuse…?

Video with David Prescott

Watch this short video to hear what David Prescott has to say about sexual abuse prevention.

David has thirty plus years of experience working in the sexual abuse field.

Get posts like this each week direct to your email inbox – it’s FREE…

This is a useful summary of the principal issues at stake in the practical treatment of the problem, with a plea for a number of attitudinal, policy and funding changes to boot.

Check out my resources page for dealing with harmful sexual behaviour – here.

What do you think?…

  • What are your tips for working with sexual abuse?
  • Please leave a comment below or just click here

Relevant previous posts:

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© Jonny Matthew 2016 (2013)

© Jonny Matthew 2016 (2013)