A price worth paying?

writer of the article on false abuse allegations (Viewpoint, 8 November) fails
to state whether the father’s "wrong" conviction for sexual abuse was
declared a miscarriage of justice by the courts, or whether this is a personal

writer casts doubt on the role of the social services department, the social
worker and the police, but we are not told of the specific details of these

this was a miscarriage of justice then details of the process by which this
occurred would allow a more informed view, and there are appropriate channels
to pursue this.

the same time, it is often difficult for perpetrators of sexual abuse and their
families to acknowledge the guilt of the perpetrator.

of false allegations are not new. An adult can manipulate children and it is
the job of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to look at the
available evidence and decide if there is enough for a conviction.

is then for the prosecution to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the
alleged perpetrator is guilty. The legal process has, in fact, frequently been
criticised for failing children not the accused.

writer states: "It is hurtful to read articles that dismiss miscarriages
of justice as part of a necessary price for society to pay in the war against
sexual abuse." But this is a double-edged sword. It is also
"hurtful" for children and their families to feel that alleged
perpetrators have not been convicted. In recent years a number of high
publicity cases have shown that people can be wrongly convicted in a wider
context than child sexual abuse.

writer’s statement that others are willing to sacrifice a few innocent people
in the fight against sexual abuse lacks foundation.

impact of sexual abuse on a child is traumatic. The child’s world is likely to
be fundamentally changed as the boundaries of the relationship and attachments
are blurred.

professionals feel it is necessary to work with a child in pairs or to leave a
door ajar, that is as much about fostering a safe and secure environment for
the child as it is about reassuring staff.

is important to acknowledge that false allegations are a possibility, but at
the same time be clear that many allegations are genuine. Furthermore, myths
about wrongful conviction and false allegations, without the facts, do little
to contribute to meaningful development of practice and merely perpetuate a
myth while providing no alternative.

Moody and Wendy Molloy
Kingston upon Hull

Ban smacking….

Wells misses the point as to why smacking children should be banned. Thousands
of families raise well-behaved and well-adjusted children without recourse to
physical punishment.

why do we need to accept it at all? Unless smacking can be justified as
necessary we should not tolerate a higher level of violence towards children
than adults. I have worked with anti-social young people for over 30 years.
Their problems were not due to insufficient smacking. The vast majority have
either been smacked often and severely, or deprived of attention or affection.

Wells’ main points are that a change in the law would not help reporting and
that there would be a lot of unnecessary investigations and legal proceedings.

ban would in fact assist reporting because when a child says they have been
hit, it will not be automatically dismissed as "a disciplinary
smack". A key issue undermining the effective protection of children is
that adults do not hear what children are saying. This will remove at least
some of the ambiguity.

notion that child protection teams or the police will waste hours on trivial
cases is a red herring. Child protection is triggered by "significant
harm". The police will deal with minor infringements of this law in the
same way that they deal with others – at most giving a caution. Changing the
law would mean everyone, whether they are six years old or 60, would have the
same protection.

would also mean our society is giving an unequivocal message that violence
towards children is wrong.

Market Drayton

…look at the evidence

find it appalling that someone claiming to be involved in "family
education" should promote such inhumane and self-defeating views as those
proposed by Norman Wells (Letters, 22 November).

confuses the issue by stating that the difference between physical abuse and
smacking is obvious, and comparable to the difference between sexual abuse and
affectionate contact. No it is not.

affection develops from the nurturing, protective and comforting instincts of
parenthood. It has a positive benefit in the rearing of young children. Sexual
motivation, intent and action are predatory and exploitative when directed at
those with no power to choose.

the infliction of pain on the young by those in a parental role is not part of
nurturing. It is an imposition of power through cruelty and is for the benefit
of the adults not the children.

is true whether it involves temporary pain, or permanent injury. As such it is
in the same category as sexual abuse. So the true groupings are of nurture,
including physical contact.

Wells sees children running amok and huge numbers in care, if smacking was no
longer legal. The evidence indicates the opposite. All forms of corporal
punishment of children by carers were banned in Sweden in 1979.

that generation of children the proportion involved in crime, drug taking, and
alcohol misuse has massively declined, as have suicide rates.

number of children admitted into care has been cut by over a quarter, and only
one child was killed by a parent. It is not necessary to haul ordinary parents
before the courts (we all recognise our own fallibilities) but a climate is
created which is much more positive for child rearing.


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