Reading through the news & noticed a few stories that looked like they were made to juxtapose one another (although appearing in different sections of the site):
Politicians in Government Bitch about minutae of Renewable Energies Policy and Fail to address over-riding concerns (at least that’s how I’d have labelled that article in view of the first two)
Then we had this article on historical figures with disabilities, discussing that people tend to not think of them that way, because they were famous and achieved success. And not a couple of clicks away, we discover the infamous ATOS has 31/123 centres for carrying out “fitness to work assessments” (quotation marks as I have severe doubts that these assessments are in any conceivable sense fit for purpose, but that’s an aside) which are entirely lacking in ground floor access for wheelchairs. To put it another way, 1/4 of centres for assessing disabled people in a way that will impact their eligibility for benefits when unable to work, cannot be accessed by people with a disability that requires a wheelchair.
Then for home economics we had these pieces of news:
UK public sector borrowing worse than expected, with this particular phrase jumping out to me: Corporation tax receipts fell nearly 10% in October, a month when there is usually a heavy inflow to boost the public coffers.
And under politics rather than business news, we have the shock discovery that Tax avoidance schemes cost UK billions in lost revenue. (also in recent news, pope remains roman catholic)
Both of these coming on the heels of criticisms by multiple Scots charities of ill thought out welfare cuts that leave them attempting to pick up the pieces.
And then two pieces that I don’t think contrast, but mirror one another. The Office of Children’s Commisioner released a report detailing the patterns of sexual exploitation of children in England. The report, titled “I thought I was the only one – the only one in the world”, sets out the findings from the first year of a two-year inquiry. It draws on figures for sexual abuse, young offending and child health from local authorities, police, health services, voluntary agencies and children and young people. “The reality is that each year thousands of children in England are raped and abused by people seeking to humiliate, violate and control them,” said Ms Berelowitz.
The key message, which I wasn’t sure the headlines carried so well, was that there are recognisable patterns to be alert to. There are patterns of behaviour exhibited by children either at risk of, or experiencing sexual exploitation, and situations in which that is much more likely to occur. Being aware of these patterns should lead to increased protection for these children (although I think the presentation in this article did not stipulate a great deal on how that should be possible). There are also a variety of models through which perpetrators of such behaviour act, but the important message didn’t seem to be that any one model predominated, but that there are patterns which can be spotted. This seemed to be the reason behind the title of the report, for each child experiencing this they feel isolated and alone, but the truth is they are not, and there are groups and patterns that perpetrate these crimes.
And then this article about the sharing out of liability for sexual abuse perpetrated at a catholic school (between the diocese and the brotherhood which largely staffed the school). The one prosecution mentioned is of former principal at the school and former De La Salle [brotherhood] member, James Carragher, who was jailed in 2004 for abusing boys in his care over a 20-year period. The interesting thing to me is that if you look at the patterns mentioned in the previous report, there’s a few things which stand out about this news article, all contained in this on sentence: “St William’s, which looked after boys aged 10 to 16 with emotional and behavioural problems until it closed in 1992, had been owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough, but many of the staff were members of the De La Salle Brotherhood.” The children are already vulnerable (by the patterns of behaviour), they are in an environment where they are dependent on a close network of adults that has led to further isolation and power over these children (again vulnerability) so at that point it is simply much easier for someone with desires to “humiliate, violate and control” them to do so and to get away with it. The one thing I thought which seems that it could disrupt such cycles of power and dominence is the existence of independent advocates, seperate from whatever group of adults holds sway… an argument for diversity and mutual community perhaps?
And Finally, don’t even get me started on Gaza! I think my thoughts there are best summarised by this picture: