NSPCC

Crowd Control II: Mixed Messages (1)

“In all the interviews I have done, I cannot remember one offender who did not admit privately to more victims than those for whom he had been caught. On the contrary, most offenders had been charged with and/or convicted of from one to three victims. In the interviews I have done, they have admitted to roughly 10 to 1,250 victims. What was truly frightening was that all the offenders had been reported before by children, and the reports had been ignored.”

― Anna C. Salter, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders


If you’ve been following the trajectory of these posts you’ll have hopefully understood that we are dealing with a highly complex set of influences which make up the overall picture of child abuse, sex crime and our current expressions of sexuality.  None of these issues lend themselves to simplistic solutions. Aside from the activities which go on within institutions, the high profile but rare cases of violent sexual abuse and sometimes murder which have been committed in the lower income levels of society play a part in giving undue credence to such crimes, making them appear much more common than they are. [1]  

That doesn’t mean to say that such crimes are not a very big part of the European and American Establishment. They most certainly are. But many of these crimes often have pathways leading directly to government, banking, the church and other institutions whose initial ideological and political constructs have become something entirely different. They now offer sanctuary and protection to child rapists and other psychopaths by virtue of a Hive Mind tradition that has fused with conscienceless individuals.  They are able to stimulate the market for abuse at both the macro-social and micro social level while simultaneously hiding behind their political, religious or corporate mask. This has ultimately meant that these networks of child abusers are buffered and protected by the societal chaos encouraged through public “lone” paedophile trials, celebrity pederasts and intra-familial abuse cases, the latter of which often act as suppliers to the Elite.

Sensationalising the issue increases the “fear factor” and a parental paranoia that is leading to restrictions on natural child development. The erosion of childhood has led to “a drastic decline in children’s outdoor activity and unsupervised play…” [2] This is due to technology and the so-called litigation and “claims culture” which has produced so much alienation and social fragmentation in America and Europe. We are now living in a world where parents and adults alike are becoming increasingly wary of even talking to children that are not their own or tending to a minor injury in the school-ground lest they be accused of inappropriate “touching.” [3] The well promoted obsession with lone child molesters is out of all proportion to the cases reported.  All of which benefits the Establishment where the most serious child rapists reside.

lone-predator

© infraskhun

So, while we know that child abuse is serious problem let’s also take a look at the other side of the coin, and how an abuse paranoia is currently manifesting in the UK.  To this into perspective for a moment, last year over 100 children in the UK alone were killed on the roads, more than 6,000 were injured and 1,000 seriously, leaving them disfigured or disabled for life. How many children in the UK have been killed by the lone child molester in a comparable time scale? Seven.[4]  Over 40,000 children ran away from home while the British government still insists that the traditional “family values” should be maintained without providing the support that families need. Britain also has one of the worst records of child poverty in Europe. Among 100,000 and 200,000 people under eighteen, experience homelessness each year.

A UK Home Office report from 1999 became yet another research study to be added to the growing body of respected research confirming the real risk comes from sexual abuse not from isolated child molesters but from relatives, family friends and siblings. The research also found that: “… only one in five men jailed for molesting children was likely to be caught re-offending, compared with reconviction figures of 50 percent for non-sexual offenders within two years of the original crime.” [5]

While the lone child molester and “stranger danger” meme gets enormous coverage in the press, the less sensationalist trend is the incidence of abuse that occurs within the family unit suggesting a hidden pathology afters years of ponerisation. Economic deprivation, the rise in narcissism and the materialism from which it is sourced is a large factor in the presence of abuse within the family. This serves as another reminder that sexual crime can always provide an infinite variety of scapegoats while ignoring the core reasons for why these offences take place. We might equally say that recognised offenders were expert in covering up their crime coupled with the fact that the age of the victim invariably ensures that the molestation is not reported adding difficulties in provision of definitive data.

According to Mary Marsh director for the National Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC): “Over the last 30 years, hundreds of children have been beaten, starved, burned, suffocated, poisoned, shaken, strangled or stabbed to death by their parents” [6] She believed the child abuse killings were a “national disgrace,” her belief drawn from the statistics which suggest that more children die in the home than in the street. Yet still, the lone child molester threat continues to pervade popular culture holding parental sensibilities to ransom with 63 percent of parents believing most child murders occur outside the home. [7]  Meanwhile, massive advertising from child charities  targeting children in the family to report on signs of abuse to the organisation, further fuelling the idea of the family as a den of corruption, already under severe socio-econommic pressures. It’s a rock and a hard place.

While the NSPCC’s had some dubious methods for raising awareness of this problem, the collected data and conclusions found were pertinent. One NSPCC poll found that 70 percent of parents were “more concerned for their children’s safety after the deaths of Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.” [8] Cases such as these allow newspapers to milk the fears of all parents who in turn campaign for legislation that adds to the overreaction for a predator that is statistically already within the home and more importantly, as an indirect result of individuals  found in the top echelons of our social systems and thus shaping it toward a singular psychological worldview. Perception management ensures that this is a “natural” consequence of people’s nature and the evolution of modern culture. Yet so far it seems, neglect, physical violence (and in some statistics rape) represent an overall increase far above sexual abuse. More than three children are said to die each day in America as a result of child abuse or neglect. [9]

2013-07-12 20.26.14

© infrakshun

While statistics need to be viewed with a suitably sceptical but open mind, sufficient studies over several decades have confirmed that there is a much higher incidence of physical abuse as opposed to sexual abuse, closely followed by neglect which is seven times more prevalent than the former. Indeed, it seems the younger the child the greater the risk of murder (infanticide) for those aged under five. The US fairs no better. The number of homicides of children under age 5 has increased over the past two decades, albeit with a modest decline in the last few years, according to government figures. The number of infanticides of children age 1 and younger is also increasing since the 1990s. Infant sexual abuse (nepiophilia) is also a rising problem within the family. The effects of sexual abuse on those of pre-verbal age are relatively unknown.

Nevertheless, research offers evidence that the foetus can be highly sensitive to external stimuli of a positive or negative nature so we can also surmise that the infant will be equally sensitised to the intent and physical effects of sexual abuse. A toddler’s brain has twice as many connections among its 100 billion neurons as the brain of a fully matured adult. [10] It is a crucial process of development within an intricate and complex system, housing neural circuits of learning that is highly almost exclusively dependent on external stimuli. The parents and the environment can directly affect whether or not the child inherits damaged circuits and the surfacing pathologies, however slight, or creative ones that lay down a healthy foundation for the future. Evidence from a recent report fro Reuters in December 2011 has even shown that: “Children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat”.

When infants and children are exposed to unhealthy social encounters which include stress and anxiety, the brains do not wire themselves properly in the “emotional centres,” which leads to negative cognitive reactions which then become “hard-wired.” If we then take the trauma associated with infant abuse, we can imagine the damage inflicted on the neurology of a developing baby and the future generational line.

A leading expert in the field of sexual abuse of the infant child, Dr. Bruce Perry at the Baylor College of Medicine, believes the development of the cerebral cortex can be reduced by as much as 20 percent from the effects of abuse resulting in many brain structures remaining under-developed.  Instead of dense neural clusters as by-products of creative learning, there are effectively “holes” sourced from trauma, stress and anxiety. [11]

Perry indicates that the human brain has a variety of ways by which it can store or “recall” experience right across the board of motor, vestibular, emotional, social and cognitive applications. The body locks in these memories that, according to Perry, are non-cognitive and pre-verbal: “It is the experiences of early childhood that create the foundational organisation of neural systems that will be used for a lifetime.” [12] Of these neural patterns, instead of laying down stable and proper functional platforms for further learning, the imprinting shock of abuse lays down trauma and anxiety related to psychosexual development during the general mapping process. This then leads to a greater propensity for widespread damage in the biological life of an emerging infant with personality development prone to severe disruption.

With the long term effects of child abuse covering a wide range of fears, anxieties, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behaviour, poor self-esteem, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships, we can tentatively conclude that the effects may be a form of emotional fall-out which not only has a very long legacy but offers a primary resource for the manipulation of the mass mind. When emotion, fear and trauma dominates, the mass mind is wide open to propaganda and perception management.

american-beauty

Promotional poster for “American Beauty” (1999) about the darker psycho-sexual and social tensions behind American suburbia which ultimately lead to redemption.

The 1999 multiple Oscar-winning film American Beauty portrayed middle-class suburban America as undergoing a reaction to the narcissism, sexual subversion and overall inversion of the American Dream. Themes explored included gender, maternal and paternal love, sexuality, beauty, materialism, alienation, self-liberation and redemption. Literary critic and author Wayne C. Booth described the film’s “elusive centre” and the talented mix of creative energy of all those involved that made the film so successful. Similarly, when art manages to make connections with the subconscious and speaks to underlying themes simmering below the surface there will inevitably some form of resonance.

The film explores the underlying connector as a materialist, consumer led “beauty” that has removed all possibilities for sense of the sacred and sanctity in American life. Beneath the struggle to adjust to impinging economic realities intolerance, fear and mental illness are descending upon middle America.  As such, beauty is still present in the unlikeliest of places from simple teenage eroticism to a plastic bag floating in the air currents of an urban alleyway. It shows how existential emptiness and the loss of meaning govern much of American and European daily life. These are the pathways by which sexual extremes and pathological deviancy may enter under cover of suburbia created from the norm of Establishment and institutional perceptions of reality.

Much of the youth in America and Europe are drowning in a sea of superficiality. There is an absence of proper role models and any form of integral education which is adding to the inevitable rise in gang-related crime. The pathological tendencies which have been allowed to gain a foothold in young social groupings are thus becoming gradually more fertile for subset-pathologies to be expressed. Indeed, it seems that the trend for children to be abused by their own age groups than by adults is also on the rise.

One comprehensive report analysed data between 1976 and 1994 and estimated more than 37,000 children had been murdered. [13] In fact, during the same period, 1 in 5 child murders were committed by a family member and 1 in 5 child victims were known to be killed by another child. Children under 18 accounted for 11 percent of all murder victims in the US in 1994. Nearly half of these 2,660 child victims were between 15 and 17. In most murders of a young child, a family member killed the child, while in most murders of an older child, age 15 to 17, the perpetrator was an acquaintance to the victim or was unknown to law enforcement authorities. Keeping to the same statistical research we also find that in family murder of a child 10 percent of victims was age 15 – 17, while in murders by strangers 67 percent of victims were in this age category.

Since the mid-1980’s the increases in the number and the rate of murder among 15-17 year-olds, particularly among black youth in this age range, outpaced changes in murder in all other age groups. [14]  Since 1980, there has been a 15 percent annual average increase in the number of prisoners sentenced for violent sexual assault (other than rape) which is “faster [increase] than any other category of violent crime and faster than all other categories except drug trafficking.” [15 The majority of these prisoners are young men.

In another survey conducted by the US Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) the steady growth of child abuse over the last ten years was confirmed with the total number of reports across the US increasing by 45 percent since 1987 and the rate of child abuse fatalities similarly increasing by 39 percent since 1985.[16 Based on data from all three years, the survey found 82 percent of children were under the age of five while 42 percent were under the age of one at the time of their death. (See Crowd Control)

suburbanfamilyPhysical violence against children is more prevalent than sexual abuse yet they often they go together. Since the 1970s, the phenomenon of child abuse has been increasing and so too the limits of the extremes that surface. Regarding the instances of filicide (the killing of one’s own children) “Head trauma, strangulation and drowning were the most frequent methods of filicide (the killing of a person’s own child). Fathers tended to use more active methods, such as striking, squeezing or stabbing; mothers more often drowned, suffocated or gassed their victims.

In a study of child abuse in New York City the incidence of child abuse increased 1026 percent between 1964 and 1974 which ranged from neglect, physical violence, sexual molestation and assault to incest and emotional terrorism. [17] The US Department of Health, Education and Welfare stated: “An epidemic of child abuse is occurring in this country.” [18] Though fluctuating parallel to the number of cases investigated which has dipped of late, similar to the high incidence of missing persons, the increase was in part attributed to a growing awareness from the public and the willingness to report child abuse. Yet the number of total child maltreatment cases that were investigated by state agencies remained constant from 1986 to 1993 for example, but the percentage of cases investigated declined dramatically, suggesting a steady rise. Indeed, the instances of child abuse and neglect almost doubled in those seven years alone totalling more than 2.8 million children.[19]

Overwhelming statistical data analyses from the US Department of Health and Services (DHHS) Administration for Children and Families Division, confirm that since 2000 – 2007 a steady but fluctuating rise in the incidence of multiple forms of maltreatment overwhelmingly came from biological parents at 79.9 percent. [20]  Back in the UK, 1 in 14 children have been violently assaulted by their parents, and we’re not talking about a tap on the bottom here. Incidences of being kicked, punched, choked, burnt or threatened with a knife have been listed as the common attacks within the home. Broken bones, bruising, bites, burns and head injuries were some of the results, some of which were carried out by mothers at 52 percent and with fathers at 45 percent. It is almost a given that fathers are assumed to have been responsible for carrying out the vast majority of domestic abuse cases involving children yet many surveys and studies both in the UK and the US seem to prove that this is another myth. Most sexual abuse is carried out by step-fathers and siblings for example,[21]  with poverty and low income families most likely to harbour the abuse. [22]

One of the most common forms of sexual abuse is that of incest (or intra-familial abuse) remaining one of the most under-reported and least discussed crimes. This is due in part, to the lack of accurate statistics and information borne from the fear and secrecy inherent in such a crime not least the difficulty in gathering such highly sensitive information. Social and familial pressure maintains a strong taboo that is almost impenetrable. The coercion by the abuser and the feelings of guilt and shame further cement the wall of silence.

Research indicates that 46 percent of children who are raped are victims of family members. Incest is traditionally defined as “sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry (as between a parent and a child)” yet here too the definition has been expanded to include sexual abuse by anyone who has “authority or power over the child.” [23] The perpetrators of incest may include immediate or extended family members, babysitters, school teachers, scout masters, and priests.

The study of a nationally representative sample of state prisoners serving time for violent crime in 1991 revealed that 20 percent of their crimes were committed against children, and three out of four prisoners who victimized a child reported the crime took place in their own home or in the victim’s home. [24]  While intra-familial abuse often seems to cross over into ritual abuse there are cases that are inter-generational and “poly-incestuous” cases involving parents, grand-parents, aunts and uncles. Sometimes this can extend to over three or four generations or more.[25] Deprived neighbourhoods with poor unemployment and a history of economic hardships also featured in a variety of studies. The “infection” naturally draws in “friends of the family” further increasing the perpetuation of abuse and the likelihood of psychopaths participating, further increasing the severity of the effects.


Notes

[1] There is evidence that child abductions are on the rise in England and Wales: From The Independent, May 2006, ‘Indypedia’: 1985 – 102, 1990 – 208, 1995 – 355. This also includes family kidnappings and not necessarily those by strangers. 2000/01 – 546  2005/06 – 1,028.
[2] ‘Play on’ By Jenny Cunningham, January 3, 2002, spiked-online.com
[3] ‘Protection risks doing more harm than good.’ By Sandra Dick, January 18, 2005, The Scotsman.
[4] Research and Development Statistics (RDS) Home Office UK, http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/
[5] ‘Home Office Report says: Most child sex attacks committed by relatives, family friends.’ Agence France Presse, 1999. BBC News, 13 October, 2002.
[6] ‘NSPCC steps up campaign on child abuse killings’ 14 October 2002, nspcc.co.uk/ The “fear-mongering” methods by which organizations like NSPCC alert the public to these dangers is also under scrutiny by some commentators, something we will look at in following posts.
[7] Child murder rate ‘a national disgrace’ BBC News, October 13, 2002.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) 1996 Annual Fifty State Survey: […] 25 states provided the following breakdown for reported cases: 62per cent involved neglect, 25per cent physical abuse, 7 per cent sexual abuse, 3per cent emotional maltreatment and 4per cent other. For substantiated cases, 31 states gave the following breakdowns: 60per cent neglect, 23 per cent physical, 9per cent sexual, 4per cent emotional maltreatment and 5per cent other.
[10] ‘The Long Term Neurological and Developmental Effects of Sexual Abuse on Infant Children’ Mike Earl-Taylor and Lindsay Thomas, March 2003 (quoted from science in Africa.co.za )
[11] Trauma, Violence, and Abuse: A Review Journal. January 2000, by Bruce Perry Vol. 1, Number 1. Sage Publications, Inc.
[12] Ibid.
[13] US Department of Justice · Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics, Crime and Victims Statistics 1998.
[14] Statistical data from Yesican.org/
[15] US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, February 1997.
[16] Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) 2000 Annual Fifty State Survey.
[17] Quoted from ‘Child Abuse in America: Slaughter of the Innocents’ By James W. Prescott, Ph.D.From Hustler, October 1977
[18] Ibid.
[19] Survey shows Dramatic Increase in Child Abuse and Neglect 1986-1993 Wednesday, Sept. 18, 1996, Michael Kharfen, US Depart. Of Health and Services, http://www.acf.dhhs.gov.
[20] Chapter 4, Perpetrator sex Child Abuse stastics, Child Maltreatment, DHHS report 2007.
[21] ‘Revealed: The Truth about Child Sex Abuse in Britain’s Families’ by Jeremy Laurance, The Independent, November 2000.
[22] “‘One in 14’ children attacked,” BBC News, 19 November, 2000.
[23] Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its After effects in Women, by Sue E. Blume, 1990, published by  John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.
[24] The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) ncvc.org.
[25] ‘Poly-Incestuous Families: an exploratory study’, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, By K.C. Faller, 1987.

Good Intentions I

By M.K. Styllinski

“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence  if they lack understanding.”

– Albert Camus


The genesis of evil has so often sprouted from the best of intentions where the highest of ideals are inverted towards goals which can only lead to a negative outcome. Empathy and altruism are the jewels in humanity’s crown. Relieving the suffering of others is a natural desire and an evolution of a psychological mechanism that seeks to reinforce group cohesion. For psychopaths however, they are amusing qualities ready to be used against us should we not be armed with the knowledge of how that subversion can take place within individuals, groups or governments.

The ability to empathise – to place ourselves in the emotional and intellectual position of another and thereby understand what s/he is feeling or thinking – is one of the highest expressions of the human condition yet it is also one of the most precarious. Altruism is naturally opposed to selfish, egoistic needs and concerned with promoting the welfare of another without thinking of the benefits one would receive from such behaviour. In the presence of a rising narcissism in Western society, true altruism seems to be somewhat rare.

How important is it that people know how big your heart is?

How far does our unconscious need to feel wanted, loved and appreciated determine the roots behind some of our altruistic actions?

Pathological altruism is an implied motivation to promote the welfare of another but in fact, leads to negative consequences to the instigator and / or the recipient. Free-will and choice are often ignored in favour of the desire “to help” and replaced with subtle manipulations amounting to force in order to achieve those goals.  At root is the irrational feeling that the instigator “knows what’s best for you” while also feeding his or her own desire to be the saviour (or martyr) according to the dynamics involved. In the end, pathological altruism helps no one and increases chaos.

Martin Luther-King, Gandhi, J.F. Kennedy and other individuals, despite their very human flaws may be outside this pathology as their ultimate objective was truth, inspiring many to reach for the same standard. The effects from their actions were entirely beneficial and remain a common ideal counter to the prevailing psychopathy. It may also be why  such people seldom last. In a world carved out by social dominators they activate the existing and natural traits in the human family to cooperate and create and are therefore een as potent threats to the status quo.

If a government knows what’s best for you and insists on pushing through reforms without a referendum; if a person insists on sending you their subjective interpretation of what constitutes “love and light” when you expressed your wish not to receive it;  if an individual refuses to see the negative attributes of her partner preferring to focus on his nicer qualities – even to the point that she excludes his violent tendencies; when the hoarding of animals is used to support the hoarder’s own emotional needs while the true needs of the animals are left unmet – these are all examples of pathological altruism which may or may not have the extra influence of psychopathy in the background fuelling the extremes. Either way, pathological altruism maybe a component of a dependent personality disorder, characterised by an adaptive or maladaptive altruism. The evidence shows that the spectrum of psychological disorders must be widened significantly to include this condition.

Fundamental to pathological altruism is the idea of a dependency on an external object that can be changed, rescued and somehow altered in order to alleviate the unresolved conflict the instigator is feeling. Projecting our subconscious suffering onto the external world in order to achieve change is endemic in the world. Inevitably, it will be a multitudinous mix of pathologies that will subvert genuine intent, so often framed by bureaucratic processes and political pressures coming to bear on the institutions in question. We will take a look at NGOs and charitable organisations in this context. This is not a veiled attack on children’s charities, merely an exploration of possible issues in direction, most notably in the present climate of fear surrounding accusations of abuse and sexual exploitation.

Fear and Funding

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty against Children (NSPCC) has a long history and a solid reputation for protecting children and raising awareness of children’s rights. After focusing on adults in the previous round, their £1.5 million, 2004 advertising campaign concentrated on going directly to children themselves, encouraging them to go to organisations rather than work it through within the family. Unfortunately, there were concerns from child advocates and academics that highlighted the dangers of placing undue importance on agencies outside the family.

Campaigns of this kind, marketed and advertised directly to children, were creating a fine line between alleviating a deep-seated problem and actually adding further layers to an already potent fear which has been injected into society. According to one academic: “This creates a poisonous atmosphere, in which both mistrust and suspicion thrive,” he said. “People who are concerned about the effect of advertising on children ought to be concerned about this.” [1]

Children must be protected from the often subtle influence of self-confirming beliefs and assumptions regarding the powerfully sensitive issue of abuse, not least the substantial history of a growing injustice that goes with it. A sensationalist crusade is not what is required, yet this so often seems to be the preferred strategy. Increasing the powers of professionals to speak on children’s behalf is not the same as empowering children to have the confidence to understand and take action in concert with protective guardians. Society needs very little conspiratorial manipulation, if the seeds of subjective beliefs merely attach themselves to the right meme. *

nspcc-bathroom-small-19400

“Bathroom” – Brand name: NSPCC Product: NSPCC Childline | Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Charities like NSPCC use a significant part of their funding base to mount huge advertising campaigns. The climate of suspicion rather than evidence is gaining ground. Though many offer up the tired old polarity between left-right agenda politics behind criticism of traditionally liberal institutions one can see that “political correctness” and the staid conservatism of yesteryear are both part of the problem. There is cause for concern that children and parents are being demonized by activities that, while prevalent, are not taking place in every household. Yet the NSPCC spends over 38 million a year on campaigning, PR, administration and public education with 28 million on actual children’s services. [2]

Does this advertising really work? Reports suggest that “shock and awe” tactics projected into families already struggling with innumerable problems may not be the answer.

Part of NSPCC’s drive to protect children also includes those who have themselves been abused with a monitoring that pushes the boundaries of what can be termed “protection.” We can also seeing another form of pre-emption emerging: “From 2002 onwards we are developing this work to help young people who have not yet abused others, but show signs of doing so in the future.” According to a recent report by The Spectator from September 2002 The Data Protection Register lists: “…details of sex life, political opinions, ethnic origin and religious beliefs on offenders and alleged offenders and their relatives. Possible recipients of this data include employers and voluntary and charitable organisations.” [3]

If it was just a case of inappropriate PR and advertising, propaganda and selective data, it would be alarming enough. However, the track record of child advocacy and social services regarding child abuse cases in many instances is less than exemplary. (America’s CPS is most definitely turning into something very disturbing in this context. For more on their record see Police State Amerika IV: The New Brutality).

The report also mentions the case of the Victoria Climbie [4] who was tortured over a nine-month period in 1999 and finally murdered by members of her family, one of a number of cases which were missed in the last two decades. Serious inaction on the part of social services, police child-protection units and two hospitals were found to be the cause of the death with the NSPCC sharing a central part of the blame. Victoria Climbie had been beaten, burned with cigarettes and forced to sleep in a bin liner inside an empty bath. The eight year old died in February 2000 with 128 separate injuries to her body along with contributory symptoms of hypothermia and malnutrition. Yet she was ignored.

Some of the reasons for the Climbie tragedy lay directly at the door of the charity yet a new multi-million pound campaign to stop child abuse on completion of the Climbie report could be said by some to have distracted criticism away from any more probing into the NSPCC. True to form, junior police officers were also alleging that they were made scapegoats in the case. Though we could say it is unfair to single out a case such as this, where one “slipped through the net”, there have since been several others which follow a similar catalogue of failures along with cases which do not necessarily make headline reports.

The emphasis on advertising campaigns and big corporate donation drives, active lobbying and hi-tec expenditure have placed the NSPCC in the position of receiving the most donations charity in the UK. It shows that there must be something deeply flawed in the system which allows a child to be tortured and abused to death from an error of data management that was “inadequate and incomplete.” The Climbie case was high profile – what of the cases which do not reach the press?

It is a matter of record that:

  • They failed to check on Victoria for a week after she was referred to them in August 1999 because they were busy planning a party.
  • They did not act on the eight-year-old’s multiple injuries for several months despite her being referred to them as an urgent case.
  • Once the referral had been received vital clarification of the information and the expectations of social services were not sought.
  • NSPCC officials had altered documents to show they closed the case. [5]

Apologies were offered with little attempts to reason why the above happened. There were also denials that this was an indication of a cover-up, although that is precisely what it was. Since that time there have been scores of other cases where children have been not not only neglected but left to die at the hands of their abusers. This is not to say that the majority of our charities do not do great work, they obviously do. In the context of Official Culture, is the status and way of life of this charity – indeed any charity – more important than its primary goal?

An article from 2012 from the opinionsite.org entitled: NSPCC maintains abuse hysteria as donations fall goes into some detail as to the problems with NSPCC’s trajectory. Though I don’t agree with all the author’s recommendations he makes some very valid points highlighting:

A report by New Philanthropy Capital which was covered by the Guardian newspaper in 2007 concluded that despite spending £250 million in its ‘Full Stop’ campaign, the NSPCC had been singularly ineffective in making any significant difference to the abuse of any children.  It also noted the NSPCC’s addiction to high-profile PR campaigns, effectively drawing public attention to child abuse through exaggeration and less than accurate research. The report said the campaign was something that “…had very little bearing on whether a substance-abusing parent neglects their child behind closed doors, or whether a sexual offender chooses to abuse a child when they have the opportunity to do so in secret.”

Disturbing allegations that the NSPCC can be viewed as an arm of government propaganda is also levelled:

  • The NSPCC is the only charity with statutory powers of investigation and referral. This means that the charity is 100% an arm of the government of the day and as such, is allowed to continue its dishonest practices with impunity.

  • Its activities and falsely secured respectability mean that the government has a ‘fall guy’ when a policy goes horribly wrong. Ministers just blame the NSPCC advice and its alleged ‘research’ and claim the government was acting in good faith.

  • The royal family and celebrities have strong funding connections with the NSPCC. They give it an air of further respectability and surround it with a protected status that most will not even dare to criticize.

No doubt great lessons were learned in terms of logistical planning, data collection and the like. But questions still remain as to the overall awareness of the deeper implications of abuse in general, where on more than one occasion the charity’s own figures and myths concerning child abuse contradicted its own high profile campaigning messages.

According to NSPCC about 1 percent of UK children are abused by a parent, most usually the mother, not the biological father as so many reports suggest. Other listed abuse is shown to have come from relatives, brothers or stepbrothers at the top end of the scale. Significantly, the researchers estimate that about 13-14 percent of sexual abuse involves non-relatives – which is to say, people outside the family. It has long been known that even in the United States as far back as 1989, that: “ … non-biological fathers were almost four times as likely as natural fathers to sexually abuse children in their care” according to one University study. It went on to state: “Another report found that, although mothers’ boyfriends contributed less than 2 percent of non-parental child care, they committed almost half of all the child abuse by non-parents.” Which follows the pattern of paedophiles who manipulate mothers into a relationship in order to gain access to the child or children. That said, the study also aligned with other research revealing: “… mothers to be more violent toward children than fathers are. Yet the NSPCC study omits the further disturbing factor, brought out in American reports that such physical abuse is most likely to occur among lone mothers. In one such survey, unwed mothers reported a rate of ‘very severe violence’ toward their children that was 71 times higher than the rate among mothers who lived with fathers.” [6]

Expensive media campaigns defined by powerful images targeting the insecurities of parents can produce unnecessary destabilisation.  Over simplification of complex issues seems to be the prerogative of our soundbite culture. The media inevitably distorts and reconfirms the myth of the family in the United Kingdom as an inherently dangerous place. After the many miscarriages of justice fuelled by sensationalist media reports how much does charity PR and media bias actually inform the public and thereby raise awareness? Or can it serve to introduce new tensions of guilt, hyper-sensitivity and political correctness into families already being squeezed by child laws and socioeconomic strictures that increase family fragmentation?

Family abuse does unquestionably take place but dealing with the problem may not lie in hugely expensive advertising campaigns bypassing parents and instilling fear and doubt in the young. It is one thing to tell children the truth in ways that are manageable and that can be healthily assimilated and made sense of, but quite another to garner profit from the creation of fear plucked from essential truths and to then seed it in the child’s mind with no reference point for understanding. This amounts to programming of a very destructive kind.

There is also evidence that charities and NGOs across environmental activism, child exploitation and medical research are being funded by the very sources that are part of the problem, giving ammunition to those who see such moves as the assimilation of civic society by corporatism and politics. NGOs rely on funding from individual donors, foundations, corporations and governments; therefore, a case could be made that these funding sources can affect NGO policy, subtly twisting decision-making in favour of corporate designs. The core legitimacy of many NGOs and charities then becomes debatable.

Since Live Aid, most independent charities have been transformed into businesses channelling millions of pounds and dollars into a multitude of projects. The strategy of maintaining growth and the payment of its employees as the consumption and production becomes ever greater, is of paramount importance. With the income of the UK’s top 500 fundraising charities topping £8.6bn in 2004 one can imagine that financial steerage and conditional donations is becoming a greater issue. [7] Where there is new direction in sources of funding, politics will not be far behind.

The humanitarian NGO Care International and the murder of its director Margaret Hussein, is a case in point. The organization had most of its donations from the US government and therefore never publicly condemned the war in Iraq for fear of losing its income, very likely contributed to the belief that Hussein had sold out to Western colonialism. Or what about Save the Children, describing itself as “the world’s largest independent global organisation for children” relies on huge donations from corporations and governments. The US counterpart of the charity came down hard on its UK branch as it condemned the military in Iraq for breaching the Geneva Convention when US military forces blocked humanitarian aid. Future withdrawal of funding from the US government was implied in several heated exchanges.

Governments and corporations have become the new donors rather than the voluntary sector of the public, where operational independence has been removed. If you look carefully, you can see that the higher principles of service to humankind have been vastly diluted. Or as a recent report from the Association of Charitable Foundations mentioned: “In a world where funding comes from service contracts, there is a danger that the passion is neutralised, in the interests of financial survival. People do what they are paid to do, rather than what they care deeply about doing.” [8]

The painful irony is that there is certainly networks of systematic abuse which are organised and sealed behind the closed doors of the powerful. Occasionally the bleed-through into their resource (the public) does occur and we are able to see examples of a progressively pathologised society. But are the vast sums of money spent on NSPCC’s campaigns justified and do they produce results  – targeting the real purveyors and sources of high level abuse?


* The term “meme” was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, which refers to a unit of cultural information transferable from one mind to another. Or as Dawkins said, ‘Examples of memes are tunes, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches’.

Notes

[1] “Campaign by NSPCC “poisons families’ ” The Sunday Times Monday, January 19, 2004
[2] “A UK children’s charity has come under fire for spending more on advertising and administration than directly on children’s services.” – BBC News, 13 December, 2000.
[3] http://www.nspcc.org.uk/
[4] The Victoria Climbie Inquiry http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
[5] Officers in Climbie case ‘scapegoats’ BBC News, Monday, 18 February, 2002.
[6] ‘Myths Aside, Traditional Families Protect Kids Best British Report Stirs Up Debate about Sexual Abuse’ The Times, December 22, 2000.
[7] ‘Top charities’ income rises 42 per cent’ Society Guardian, June 30, 2004.
[8] http://www.acf.org.uk/ Association of Charitable Foundations UK Offices.