Panorama: Crime Waves



    Sunday 6 February, 10.15pm

    Star Rating: 5/5

    Crime Waves provided one of the most compelling arguments for
    tackling child abuse with far more vigour, and why survivors of
    abuse need a great deal of support, writes Peter Saunders.

    It highlighted the plight of a group of men whose criminal
    backgrounds led them all to prison and a life of hopelessness.
    Shockingly, they had all been sexually abused by one man: Bill
    Goad, who abused children (and we’ll never know how many) over four
    decades in the Plymouth area.

    The judge, who dealt with these men, rightly said that some of
    them may well have committed crimes even if they had not been
    abused. But a clear pattern emerged: abuse a child and the
    consequences for society can be dire.

    The consequences for the victims seemed clear enough. Unable to
    trust, they grow up with a distorted view of the world and many
    turn to self-harm. One victim, who was given no follow-up support,
    took his own life after making his statement to the police.

    The National Association of People Abused in Childhood (Napac),
    hears from many people in prison. The letters don’t ask for
    sympathy but for understanding of what led to their life of crime.
    Most of us who were abused in childhood do not go on to commit
    crimes, but when you hear about the things done to the children
    (now grown up) in this programme it’s unsurprising that they have,
    as the judge said, “absolutely nothing to look forward to in life”.
    Goad is serving life for his crimes but he may be out one day. For
    his victims, however, “life” really does mean life.

    Peter Saunders is founder and development director of

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