Research commissioned by the Department for Education found that one in three individuals who have suspected a child they know is being abused did nothing to act on their suspicions. Fear of having misread a situation, potentially ruining someone’s life by wrongly tarnishing them with such a serious accusation, is cited as the biggest factor which deters reporting suspected crimes.And no wonder, as a glance at Anna Raccoon's or Moor Larkin's blogs could tell you.
Of course, no decision to report abuse will ever be easy. The sense of the magnitude of the accusation, and the awareness of the extreme repercussions for all involved, can be overwhelming. However, the seriousness of child abuse should mean that the question of whether to report should not be a question at all. We all have a duty to report our fears, despite our concerns that they may be unfounded."Never fear, citizen! The office of Witchfinder General is known for its compassion and professionalism, so report that old lady with the black cat when your cow's gone barren in confidence. It's your civic duty!"
Putting responsibility on victims to report sex crimes, and therefore the responsibility to prevent abuse, perpetuates victim-blaming attitudes; it reflects the belief that the onus is always on the victim to stop their abuser by speaking out, rather than on society to protect its citizens in the first place and to be receptive to signs of abuse when they occur. It absolves wider society of responsibility, in failing to acknowledge that child abuse is a far-reaching and important social issue. Instead, we are encouraged to think about abuse in terms of isolated events and disconnected individuals."Only 'society' has a responsibility, never the individual!"
If we are serious about eradicating abuse, collective cultural responsibility is just as important as individual victim empowerment."Forward, citizens! Forward together, as one, into our glorious collective future!"
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