Wednesday, 17 June 2015

IMHO – Problems with Safeguarding & Child Protection Today

Let me talk to you about the safeguarding of our children and child protection in the UK and what I see daily in my work. But first let me tell you why I am qualified to talk philosophically about this subject. I have worked in education, primarily early years and primary, but also further education and adults for over 30 years. I have owned a children’s Montessori day nursery and have been the manager of many children’s day nurseries of varying sizes over many years. I have also been employed to turn at least two nurseries from inadequate by Ofsted to at least a "good" and I have done this successfully. I have worked all over the UK and world and was employed as a reception teacher in the Middle East; worked with children in challenging situations in the USA and Africa.

I am now a freelance education consultant, trainer and writer. In education, I now specialise in safeguarding and child protection training, advice and guidance as well as many other aspects of education and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). I also do valuable work with victims and survivors of all forms of abuse, from domestic abuse to child sexual exploitation; trafficking, grooming, FGM to a support group for adults abused in childhood. I have also given advice to the government’s independent child sexual abuse inquiry in safeguarding and child protection and to several charities. I have worked with many local authorities, safeguarding boards, social workers and the care system and have sat on many very deplorable child protection case reviews. I also write articles for eminent education magazines on all aspects of safeguarding and child protection amongst other topics such as travel, food and health.

Nothing much has changed in the last sixty years.
In some areas we may appear a little safer, possibly?

Until we acknowledge openly that abuse is prevalent in all corners of the UK (and world) and we start to openly have a conversation and dialogue about all types of abuse without feeling embarrassed, shame and guilt, things are never going to change.

Until we realise that a paedophile does not come dressed in a dirty mac but is the person you entrust your children to and comes from all backgrounds and social standing, nothing will change.

Until we all realise paedophilia, abuse and domestic violence does not discriminate. Full Stop. It is in every corner of life.
Until training for all organisations and establishments including the NHS, Police, Social Care, Care Homes, Children’s Services, Local Authorities, Ofsted, Department for Education and the Government is appropriate, in depth and real, we are never going to change a culture of behaviour...yes, a culture of behaviour. 

Until there are enough fully trained staff in Social Care and Safeguarding Boards with in-depth knowledge of the types of abuse, associated behaviours and the courage to speak out with no repercussions, nothing will change.

Until we have a true understanding of the lifelong trauma and damage abuse does to victims and survivors, nothing will change.

Until we understand the mental health issues, cPTSD, PTSD, suicides, self harming and brain patterning linked to abuse, the patterns will never be broken and future generations are in danger. Think how much this is costing the Health System in mental health and trauma related difficulties; address the problem not the result.

Until we understand the upbringings of the different cultures living in the UK today and their understanding, attitude and beliefs towards sex, women, trafficking, FGM, gender and abuse, nothing will change. Believe me, I have witnessed it its very real.

Until victims and survivors feel safe to report or disclose and are truly listened to and believed, we are never going to change things.

Until we stop judging and stereotyping victims and survivors, nothing will change.
Until more money is ploughed into specialist disclosure centres (not rape centres) with appropriate and adequately trained staff and resources and where victims and survivors can feel the utmost safety, empathy and compassion, things will never change.

Until perpetrators are given sentences appropriate to their crimes, disclosures are going to be scarce, sparse and only for the courageous. Believe me, I know.

Until whistleblowers are seen as "good" people doing the right thing to safeguard the most vulnerable and are given a safe place to whistleblow, nothing will change. Again believe me i know.
Until victims and survivors secure real justice in the full sense of the word, things will never change.

Until we realise and understand the behaviours linked to paedophilia and the perpetrator  – coercion, control, manipulation, grooming, befriending, bullying – and that most perpetrators and paedophiles are friendly warm charming individuals that easily con their victims and the world around them, they will continue to abuse.

Until we understand the psychology of the perpetrator who is a true con artist, liar and actor; manipulator and a danger in society, nothing will ever change. Believe me, I know.
Until there are safe mechanisms, in law, in place for the courageous whistleblowers, who put their necks and jobs (and often their lives) on the line to disclose concerns about children, their safety and the organisations supposedly looking after them, nothing will change.

Until we treat the problem and not the result, the perpetrators will continue their disgusting tactics, seeking out those they see as vulnerable to prey on and ply with their evil games, grooming and gifts, nothing will change.

Paedophiles seek out their prey, often online in chat rooms, dating sites, Facebook and all the other social media, pretending to be someone they are not. 

As it stands today most is in favour of the perpetrator - cover ups, silence, disbelief, the law, short prison sentences, even no sentence at all in some cases. 

The court of human rights takes care of these appalling individuals and their crimes and the victims and survivors rights are often not considered; very apparent in some cases of stalking, trolling, harassment, rape and abuse.

Abuse perpetrators, whoever they are and however they perform, are vile creatures with large egos and no conscience; they are often psychopaths or have psychopathic, narcisstic or sociopathic tendencies and traits. We need to understand this and get to grips with this reality. 

Dr Robert D. Hare PhD, Psychologist , states in his excellent book "Without Conscience - the Disturbing World of Psychopaths Around Us" - that there are more psychopaths walking our streets than there are in prison. Because psychopaths are so clever they, more often than not, con, deceive and manipulate family, friends, loved ones, the establishment, government and statutory services into believing their victims have imagined it all or "made it up." The psychopath is a pathological liar and believes their own propaganda.
As a victim and now a survivor of abuse I fully understand the psychology and behaviours associated with paedophiles and psychopaths; I can spot them a mile off and I now teach and train in these areas. I have facilitated workshops and groups in child and teen exploitation, support groups for adult survivors of child abuse and worked on many child abuse cases and case reviews but I can assure you – in my humble opinion (IMHO) for what it is worth – there is not anywhere near enough training or understanding on the traits and characteristics of abusers, psychopaths and paedophiles. I am an odd one out.

Abusers seek out their victim – whether it be a vulnerable child, teen, adult or single mother with young children – they groom with kindness, “love”, gifts, drugs, alcohol, money, sex, friendship, even a meal or just a piece of pizza! They do this face to face, on the internet and on dating sites - its not difficult stuff. Some even tell young girls they will marry them and make them very happy forever. Vulnerable young girls and women can be completely taken in by "Mr Charming, Mr Jekyll or Mr Hyde" until they are trapped in a violent dysfunctional dangerous and abusive relationship and feel they can’t get out safely. It happens to men too...yes, you read that right, it happens to men too.
If a perpetrator is caught he or she has the ability to groom, coerce, control and manipulate the Police and criminal system by appearing to be Mr Charming and deny everything – this is called transference of blame and responsibility – they will obviously make out the victim was complicit or even instigated the relationship. They have no conscience. Its all about them. The Id = Ego, remember?

These Jekyll & Hyde characters are dangerous individuals operating within a well thought out scheme of arrogant manipulation, coercion and psychopathic behaviour. They know exactly what they are doing, please believe me, they do. I worked on one case where the perpetrator married three times, each to women much younger with very young children and abused all the children in all three marriages. He was a man of high intelligence and upstanding in society. He was finally caught and imprisoned.
I strongly believe – again IMHO – that most, if not all, of the agencies working with these vile individuals have no idea of the depth of coercion and manipulation these individuals will stoop to fulfill their sick needs. I come across a lack of understanding and disbelief for these individuals every day in my work and it’s unbelievable, not to say scary. Many times individuals and professionals will comment "does this really go one."

IMHO – children and young people – are still not safe from abuse in all its ugly forms today. No safer today than sixty years ago because of lack of understanding, shame, embarrassment, guilt and dialogue. Not safe because we have no broken a culture of behaviour. 

Not safe because individuals in power cover for each other. Not safe because to whistleblow individuals are not safe.

If you are afraid to face the problem and the language involved you should not be in the safeguarding profession. If you cannot have the difficult dialogue then really think about your position. Abuse is ugly and unsavoury but to safeguard children and young people we have to be bold, courageous, confident and not afraid to ask difficult questions; we have to have those difficult dialogues in order to challenge all those who are not bold enough to speak out and to stop those committing these dreadful atrocities to our children and young people.
Until you have felt it, you do not, and will not, get it.

So speak and have that dialogue with those experts that do; listen and employ well trained knowledgeable experienced individuals who get it.

See other posts: Mrs Teacup in Africa and Arabia / My Story of Domestic Abuse and much more here at this informative and inspiring blog.


  1. I want to say I wish there were more people like you in the world but I can't because that would make it sad. It sucks that so many people have had to suffer before the knowledge has reached the relevant and important people. Are you is important people like me because I mean people in authority. I guess I wish there were more courageous people like yourself who are brave enough to give thier bold, honest and necessary opinions when it comes to the safeguarding of our children and future generations.

  2. ** I use the word important people lightly, because I mean people in authority

  3. Thank you Bob. Today was important to me, because I have thought long and hard about writing this post and I finally found the courage to be brave and speak from my heart about what I see and deal with daily while trying desperately to safeguard children and also to get people to listen, believe and get off their parapets and understand what is going on. I was scared to write this previously for reprisals and added trauma/trolling BUT I decided the time was right and it had to be said. I have seen and witnessed so much unprofessional behaviour and attitude that children are not really any safer today that sixty years ago. The authorities, establishment and health services just do not have enough experience and expertise of the challenges linked to the new types of abuse we are dealing with - trafficking, FGM, sexual exploitation, grooming etc. Tonight I have been out working with a group discussing Disclosure, awesome discussion; awesome group; awesome journey. I wish someone would listen and hear me. Thank you for taking the time to comment and thanks for your words. ;0)

  4. It sounds pretty awesome!!!!!! You, I am sure will give others the courage to speak out :)

  5. Thank you very much, once again, Bobs. ;0))