Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Oxford Abuse and Brook

No sooner was the Serious Case Review into the appalling abuse of young girls in Oxford published, than campaigners were calling for more, and compulsory, sex education in schools.

I contest that sex education of the type that is being promoted is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

I refer to the ethos of Brook, about whose infamous Traffic Lights I have blogged before, here and passim (to re-cap, underage sex is explicitly to be applauded; indeed  'consenting oral and/or penetrative sex with others of the same or opposite gender who are of similar age and developmental ability' is according to Brook normal behaviour for thirteen year olds and worthy of positive feedback). This 'anything (consensual) goes' ethos informs our school's approach to SRE, and thus effectively grooms girls for predatory males.

Brook of course, is a champion of providing contraception to under-age children, too (as is the Government. Readers may remember the brave campaign by Victoria Gillick which brought this to public attention and, for a brief while, put a stop to it. During that time, when contraceptives were not freely available to under-age children, teenage conceptions went down).

Brook's ethos also has an effect outside the schoolroom.  The Serious Case Review refers to this same ethos as being a major factor in the total failure of the various agencies to think that there was anything wrong when young girls were clearly having sexual relations with older men.

Here are some extracts:

1.3 The law around consent was not properly understood, and the Review finds confusion related to a national culture where children are sexualised at an ever younger age and deemed able to consent to, say, contraception long before they are able legally to have sex. A professional tolerance to knowing young teenagers were having sex with adults seems to have developed.

5.11 The lack of knowledge also, for example, affected the therapeutic care given to the girls as risks were not identified, clues not picked up, and the presenting issue was the focus. “Primary care [and a listed range of sexual health and pregnancy services] failed to recognise that these girls were at ‘high on-going risk’ and failed to protect them from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and failed to work together to safeguard them.”

8.52 The result was that inappropriate or illegal sexual activity by children who were clients, patients or looked after children was subject to a higher tolerance threshold than would be the case than, say, the average parent. This may have been because professionals could not find a way to stop the girls going where they were at risk; it may have been from trying to avoid being too ‘controlling’ and risking more alienation, and from the wide sense that ‘nothing could be done’. However, for some, it may also relate to a reluctance to take a moral stance on right and wrong, and seeing being non-judgemental as the overriding principle. What is right and wrong about youthful sexuality is anyway a rather blurred issue. Paragraph 5.43 referred to health guidance which determines a child’s ability to consent to sexual health advice and get contraception for an act which the child might be legally unable to consent to. The law regards underage sex between peers over 13 as not something that should have any intervention, and it is not much more of a step to see sex between say a 14-year-old and a young adult as ‘one of those things’. And, in this Review, sex with older adults did not always lead to what might colloquially be called bringing in the cavalry to intervene come what may. The benign word ‘boyfriend’ disguised age-inappropriate relationships.

A key recommendation is to “Seek assurance from all member agencies that staff are aware of the guidance around consent to sexual activity, and relationships”.  And here's the crunch: the report reveals that a pro-forma developed by Brook is in place with some agencies: this refers directly to the notorious Brook Traffic Light Tool to which I referred above.

And the solution of the politicians: give Brook and their ideological allies more leverage with our children!

We live in very depraved and dangerous times.

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.

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