As mentioned when last we met, I’m on placement in a social work team that does bits of child protection in amongst its usual youth justice stuff. We’re talking about kids being neglected, forgotten and abused physically, sexually and emotionally. We’re talking kids who’ve had a mouthful of teeth removed because their parents never bothered with toothpaste. Kids who get beaten and locked away, kids who learn the smell of alcohol on breath and know what’s coming. Kids who’ve grown up with lousy parents, turned into lousy parents themselves, neglecting, forgetting and abusing their own children like they were neglected, forgotten and abused. It’s the sort of awfulness you don’t want to think about.
It’s the sort of awfulness you pass on to social work, figuring they can keep track of what’s going on behind the closed doors of 65 million people. It doesn’t work like that. People keep their business. Abusers keep their secrets. Which is why this month we’re giving to the NSPCC. It’s a cracker of a charity, although making a case for it is tough given their website stays firmly in the category of the incredibly vague.
Their statalicious annual report tells us half a million kids called Childline last year and 30,000 people phoned their helpline with concerns about children. Of them, 12,000 were referred to social work and 3,000 to the police. They ran non-specific community programmes to support parents and children, ran non-specific campaigns raising awareness of the issue and funded non-specific research into areas that presumably relate to the kind of thing the NSPCC would be interested in. I’m all for concision but, Christ, I’ve got more out of mafia informants.
The point is they do good stuff, they help social work do good stuff, and they keep on eye on at least some of those 65 million doors. My donation could pay for a counselling session with an abused child, helping them talk about what’s happened and getting them on the road to moving past it. That’d be a good thing. You can do it too, here.