Child sexual abuse in the news headlines…again

15 02 2013

On the eve of the Family Day long weekend here in Ontario, sexual crimes against children are once again prominent in news headlines. Very prominent. Today’s newscasts are featuring at least four major stories, among them:

  • child pornography charges laid against a Halton teacher
  • an RCMP officer and his wife charged in a shocking child abuse case now unfolding in Ottawa
  • Coronation Street TV star accused of 19 child sexual offences dating from 2001 – 2010
  • Manitoba Court of Appeal lengthens sentence for convicted child sex offender and former hockey coach Graham James (increased from 2 years to 5 years)

BROKEN TRUSTThese cases echo the broken trust that so often surfaces in sexual crimes against children. All instances of sexual abuse are unacceptable, but those committed by adults in positions of trust or authority, including teachers, police officers, coaches, parents, and celebrities, are betrayals of the worst kind. They raise questions not only about those who would perpetrate these worst of assaults against innocence, but also about the failings of society’s efforts to protect vulnerable children.

This Family Day, how about asking what more we can do to value children? If we believe children are indeed the future, and if we recognize that crimes against them ultimately are crimes against tomorrow’s hopes and aspirations, then this seems the right track to changing how children are viewed and treated. If everyone valued children – honoured them and protected them – what would change? Would we find new thinking or effective ideas that could be harnessed in order to nurture these seeds of the future? Could we better understand and address the threats and expose the root causes that have led us to a point in history when the youngest among us face so many dangers? Certainly seems worthwhile asking the questions.

Happy Family Day.

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