Rotherham abuse scandal: what was life like for a victim?

rotherhamOften described as the “biggest child protection scandal in UK history”, the organised child sexual exploitation in Rotherham saw around 1,400 children abused from 1997 – 2013 (according to the Jay Report). The scale of the child protection scandal has led professionals responsible for safeguarding children in other regions to recognise the extent of child abuse in their area and consider how to respond efficiently.

On the 25th July, we hosted an event at Kingston University to launch Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham, a book written by two whistleblowers of the case, Adele Gladman and Dr Angie Heal. Adele Gladman is an experienced safeguarding children trainer and consultant, and previously ran the research and development pilot funded by the Home Office which was referred to in both the Jay and Casey reports during the Rotherham case. Dr Angie Heal was a strategic analyst working for South Yorkshire police who has since contributed to Panorama documentaries. Both gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee for the Rotherham case in 2014 and they continue to assist with ongoing investigation and inquiries.

Also joining us on the day, we heard talks from Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Professor Alexis Jay OBE, author of the Independent Inquiry report into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham, and T, a survivor of Rotherham case.

Known as T to keep her identity private, this brave individual came to the seminar for this book in order to give a talk about what had happened to her. Coming from a large family, T spoke of her previously normal life before the abusive events that followed. In the recording below, you can listen to her talk about what life was like living through the abuse she encountered from such a young age, and the appalling trial that followed.

What are the different forms of bullying and what strategies can be used to overcome the problem?

bullyingMichael Panckridge, co-author of Be Bully Free, takes a look at the different forms that bullying can take and suggests strategies that victims of bullying can adopt to overcome the problem.

Bullying is about power and the perceived need to gain dominance over another person either physically, intellectually, socially or emotionally. Research into the effect of bullying behaviour indicates that not only does it produce negative short-term psychological problems, but can also affect a person well into their adult life and even lay the foundations for significant and ongoing emotional health problems. Sometimes the bullying is overt and immediate. However, in many cases, the bullying is low-key and ‘hidden’, and the recipient may not be aware of it immediately.  Initially the recipient may think it is their own behaviour that is causing the bullying – that there is something wrong with them or what they do. When this happens, the recipient of the bullying tends to avoid being with other people and they use strategies to escape. This may include avoiding school, which can signal the start of school refusal. Continue reading

How to Start Tricky Conversations with Child Sufferers of Abuse

abuseDaisy Law has over 17 years’ experience as a teacher of English and literacy. As a teacher, she has been trained in safeguarding and understands the importance of children being able to disclose secrets about abuse, neglect and other such topics.

Not all conversations are easy, even when you’re an adult. Whether as a parent, a teacher or a health and social work professional, there are some discussions which can feel too emotionally charged for us to confront. The reasons some conversations are trickier can be many and varied, but when that difficult talk is with a child sufferer of abuse, it’s important to see things from their point of view. In the trickiest conversations with children, support for them is more important than our own discomfort.

Any form of child abuse can be so entrenched in societal taboos that the shadow of those structures affects the way we approach speaking about it with kids. We may not mean to. We may not even know we’re doing it. But nonetheless, our choice of words, tone or body language can reinforce issues of blame and shame which children who have been abused often carry within.

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