Protecting Our Children

>>  Sunday, August 12, 2012

Well here we go again.  Another (suspected) child murderer does an interview about how much he loved her, what the last words were etc etc

There are videos still floating around of the Stuart Hazell interview. I suspect they shouldn't be and news sites seem to be pulling them in readiness for the legal case about to ensue.

After the disappearance of Tia Sharp there was the usual Social Media panic about how it's not safe to let children out to play, how dangerous it is, what wicked people are walking the streets just waiting to pray on your child etc etc 

But yet again it's people known to the child that are the perpetrators.

Yes, we all remember Sarah Payne, Sean Williams and Milly Dowler but they stick out in our minds because they aren't every day events.  It is unusual for children to be at risk from total strangers, much more so than it is from people they know.

According to the NSPCC  'On average, every week in England and Wales at least one child is killed at the hands of another person'. In fact 70% of murders of children are by parents.  These numbers are highly weighted by the deaths to under 1 year olds, which is by far the largest percentage. Only 6% of deaths are attributed to a total stranger.

Although I agree, that's a 6% not to be taken lightly.   This report from the Home Office on Homicide in the UK makes for interesting reading.

I'm not sure where I am going with this, except to say: don't let these high profile media cases frighten you into not allowing your child to develop and grow up.  Don't wrap them in cotton wool, shut them up inside and drive them from one 'safe' play date to the next.

Don't teach them that the world is a big scary place full of people to be frightened of.  Teach them how to be safe, teach them stranger danger but don't force them into isolation.  Isolation and over protectiveness are the barriers to community, to confidence and giving children the ability to push out and achieve.

Our children have the right to be allowed to play.  I'm not suggesting you let them roam the streets willy nilly, unsupervised.  I just think that there is still a place for groups of childen to play out, to ride their bikes in the street, to go to the park, to walk to school in peer groups.  The NSPCC have advice for parents on this.

Protect, don't over protect, but above all be the best a parent can be which is to give their children an absolute safe home, free from harm, abuse and neglect.  How about throwing in a bit of positive parenting for good measure.


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