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Child Protection Myths and Reality

June 7, 2011

The typical punters perception of child protection and child abuse worries me.

Ask the typical punter on the street or the typical parent about child protection and they will jump to idea of sexual abuse and the image of the pedophile stalking children from behind a bush. While helping out with a trip for local kids football club I had a parent say to me “how can I be sure my child is safe in the hostel, pedophiles are attracted to anywhere kids, are could be lurking in the next room”. This is made all the worse with recent reports like the Murphy Report or the Ryan Report.

But lets take a look at the facts.

There are four categories of abuse described in “Children First”, the foundation document of Child Protection policy in Ireland, these being sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Year in year out the most prevalent form of abuse is neglcet. Yet this is not what worries the man on the street.

On top of this, the majority of sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone know to the child, often in the family or extended family. I felt it best not to point this out to the over the top parent above, but a child is more at risk in the family home then on a trip with a football club.

This worries me because the result is that we get hysteria about child protection that is misguided. Just look at the plan for Cork County Council to ban photography in playgrounds (STORY HERE). All this fussing does very little to protect the children who are really at risk, those living in poverty and neglect who continue to be invisible.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2011 18:34

    Completely agree. The difference between public perception and reality can be staggering and very unhelpful.

  2. June 7, 2011 20:22

    Yup fully agree!


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