The Urban Dictionary describes the word ‘Pants‘ thus: Adj. British slang. Not good; total crap; nonsense; rubbish; bad; woefully inadequate; useless; a waste of time and space.
I just thought I’d mention that before I told you that the NSPCC has today announced that their brand spanking new campaign is to be called – wait for it – ‘Talk Pants’!
The NSPCC has belatedly accepted that having celebrity pretendy policemen tweeting manically about the latest ‘questioning’ of some geriatric comedian who may or may not have put his hand on the bum of a 15-year-old 40 years ago is all very well when it comes to garnering donations from well intentioned middle-aged cat lovers, and works wonders for getting your name plastered all over the media – but it doesn’t actually do anything for the 90% of sexual abuse victims who never get to meet a celebrity in their entire miserable lives – nor a celebrity policeman.
As of today, they have turned over a new leaf – in future their attention will be on those 90% of genuine horrific child abuse victims.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said children needed to know “stranger danger” was not the biggest threat they faced. “The shocking case of Savile has horrified many parents and understandably it has heightened concerns around sexual abuse. But most abuse is closer to home and if we are to tackle this issue we must prevent it before it even starts,” he said.
Well, hurrah for that – but wait – how exactly are they going to tackle this issue? How are they going to use all those extra donations to protect these children?
This is the charity’s biggest campaign since the Full Stop fundraising campaign which raised £250 million. Although the campaign raised awareness of the issue, critics said it did not appear to reduce the incidence of child abuse which appeared to be the objective.
Um, they are going to leave it up to ‘parents’ to deal with it….
Mr Wanless said he was not ordering parents to do anything but most since want to protect their children, this was a way to help.
“I am not telling parents what to do. We are giving them the opportunity to step up, help them with what to say. Who as a parent does not want to protect their children?
“Who as parent does not want to protect their children.” That old rhetorical question!
The biggest group of young children at risk, is those who suffer from what is euphemistically called ‘learning disabilities’ these days. ‘Learning Disabilities’ range from the mildly ‘thick’ and poorly educated – right through to scraps of humanity, lovingly nurtured by those who gave birth to them, but without any means of communication whatsoever, deaf, dumb, blind, and often horrifically physically handicapped. My heart goes out to those parents as to no other group of people. The law forces them to send their ‘child’ to school every day.
‘School’ is another euphemism in this instance. It often amounts to little more than what the rest of us might consider ‘day care’. Every morning a bus will arrive, driven by a man or woman they may or may not know from Adam, who will take their child to a centre where parents may or may not be welcome to drop in whenever they please. There, their child will be fed, amused by coloured lights played on the ceiling, diapers will be changed, games will be played, by a group of people they may or may not know from Adam. Their only reassurance in this system is that none of those people will actually have been convicted of any offences involving young children. (See CRB checks passim).
Many of these children, in the absence of effective means of vocal communication, will be endearingly tactile and touchingly trusting, and pitifully vulnerable. The end result is a form of torture for anxious parents which cannot possibly be fully appreciated by those of us who do not have to endure 18 years of it. These are parents, Mr Wanless, who would willingly and without your prompting, explain to their child that “the parts of their body covered by underwear are private and no one should “ask to see it, touch or kiss them” there. It also urges them to say to no to family members or other people they love if they want to touch them there, and then tell someone what has happened”. If only they could.
Perhaps some of that £250 million war chest you have amassed could be used to pay Inspectors to go into homes like Winterbourne, on a regular and unannounced basis? You know, like the old cruelty man. Old fashioned idea, but being all modern and media savvy is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Then there are another large group of children at risk, those to whom the plural ‘parents’ is a mystery. ‘Parent’ they would understand. Or ‘Parent accompanied by long string of Uncles’. Some of them will be caring enough to have already explained to their child that ‘the parts of their body covered by underwear are private and no one should “ask to see it, touch or kiss them” there’. They will be the ones who have no need of your patronising ‘pants‘ campaign. but there will be others, sadly, who will be over occupied working out where the next bottle of Vodka is going to come from or whether to have the full colour tattoo or save the money for a rave in Ibiza. I fear your campaign will be lost on them. Assuming they can even read.
Perhaps some of that £250 million war chest you have amassed could be used to pay Inspectors to stalk the corridors of social housing, on a regular and unannounced basis? You know, like the old cruelty man. Old fashioned idea, but being all modern and media savvy is not all it’s cracked up to be.
There is another smaller group of children at risk – those who actually do have ‘parents’ – and one of those parents is the very one who is “touching or kissing them there”. Do you not think your expensive campaign might be a tad wasted on that parent – even on the other parent who shares the house with them? Perhaps if the old ‘cruelty man’ was in better evidence and more accessible to these children, they might be encouraged to speak up sooner? Just an idea, you know, after all, we now know that Child Line, which you bought from Esther Rantzen, did absolutely nothing, heard not a peep, from – what was it you said? The possibly 1300 victims of Savile? That sounds to me like the largest field trial ever of the idea that kids would go into a phone box and talk to a stranger over the phone of such matters. Didn’t work, did it? So dump it, and go back to real people in places where kids go….
Still, that was quite some admission from you, that the majority of parents now think that the greatest danger to their child might be bumping into a celebrity in the corridors of the BBC and getting their bum touched:
Many parents appear to be confused about where the real danger lies. Over half said “stranger danger” was one of their top concerns for their children, yet it is well established that 90 per cent of sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone known to the child.
Whose fault is that, eh? Who confused them? Who left thousands of children at risk because their parents thought that ‘stranger danger’ was the biggest risk to their child?
Well, blow me down, if it wasn’t the NSPCC, and the ghastly NAPAC, and their involvement in the Yewtree charade.
By God, you have along way to go Mr Wanless, before you can ever again lay claim to being an organisation that is about ‘protecting children’. Now get on with it. You’ve had your flirtation with celebrity and oodles of publicity – now get back to the hard grind of actually protecting some of these children. It’s ‘pants‘ I know – not glamorous, but someone has to do it.