Time To Put Sexual Abuse In Pe

987 words - 4 pages

It is time for the topic of child sex abuse to be brought into the world of everyday reality. People need to take their heads out of the sand and not rely on the inaccurate information they have been fed in the media.From a reading of headlines in Ireland in the past few years, a visitor from outer space might be excused for assuming that all the child sexual abuse in this country had been perpetrated by Catholic clergymen - and by no one else. In fact, out of the current aggregate of 9,017 priests and brothers in Ireland (North and South), 27 priests and 11 brothers have been convicted of child sexual abuse since the 1980s, this representing a ratio of four per 1,000. Of the 38 total, 33 ...view middle of the document...

A figure of around 10 per cent reportage seems to be accepted by professionals in the field.A small percentage of reported sexual offences result in the prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of the perpetrator. For example in 1994, out of 619 sexual offences reported to the Garda, 79 offenders were jailed.In 1997, more than 1,000 sexual offences were reported to the Garda, an increase of almost 200 on the previous year.If, as the evidence indicates, only one in 10 of child sex abuse incidents is reported, then it behoves those in charge of children (parents, teachers, youth leaders, sports officials, clergy), to be vigilant at all times, to protect the children in their care and to report all suspected cases The importance of screening those involved in child or youth social or sports activities cannot be underestimated.The stereotype of the typical child sex abuser (generally and often incorrectly described as a "paedophile") put across by the Irish media following the Father Brendan Smyth case was of a fleshy, lumbering, evil looking man, easily identified. Nothing could be further from reality, as one of the principal speakers at the Athlone conference, Marie Keenan, pointed out in the course of an interview: "Men who perpetrate abuse have not dropped in from outer space. They are men who are born here, of Irish parents, reared in Ireland, [they] came through an Irish education system, are not all mad and don't have psychiatrist disturbances." In my own experience, a man I know who was convicted of child sex abuse was a leader in his local community; he was charming, handsome and charismatic, a good...

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