Thoughts from a Safeguarding Professional

Posted by Jennifer Pearce on 4/24/2018 to News

We didn’t know enough then….

Twenty years ago, K was fourteen when she disclosed that her stepfather had been abusing her. She and a friend had got drunk on her mother’s red wine. She told her friend, who told the friend’s mother - who told their school and the rest is history….

The abuse had taken place in her stepfather’s furniture van. Amazingly, he pleaded guilty almost immediately and was jailed for seven years – a very long sentence twenty years ago. Talking about it now, K says she has recollections of several men being around, and with hindsight it is likely that there was a sexual exploitation ring involved. The guess is that he took the blame on behalf of the others. Honour amongst offenders, who knows?

K has grown into a strong, assertive young woman with a successful career. She knows she could open things up again if she told what she remembered about the other men but is choosing not to do this. Her memories are very hazy, and she so much wants to put it all behind her. She still sleeps very badly and is very anxious about forming a lasting relationship.

None of the professionals in her network at the time thought about sex abuse rings exploiting children. If anybody had mentioned it all those years ago it would probably not have been picked up. Hopefully, we would look at it differently now, but with recent cases failing young people so badly who can be sure?

Michael Rosen and the NUT

Michael Rosen, the former children’s laureate, made a speech at the last conference of the NUT over Easter. It can be found on YouTube if you search “Michael Rosen at the NUT Conference”. He received a standing ovation. Even if the thought of a teachers’ union conference leaves you cold, it is worth a listen to hear the great Michael Rosen speak.

Update on the children of alcoholics

Earlier this year we wrote in our e-bulletin about the children of alcoholic parents and their need for support. At that time, Jeremy Hunt said he would make £500,000 available to improve helpline support for children affected by parental alcoholism. We now hear that the government is pledging £6 million to speed up the identification of children who are at risk, give support to reduce the numbers going into care, and to provide help for parents through their treatment for alcoholism. MPs who have first-hand experience of a parent abusing alcohol have boldly and bravely shared their feelings of shame and secrecy when they were growing up.

The dreaded PowerPoint

We are told that Steve Jobs had an aversion to people using slides in meetings. He thought they would do better to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides.

“People who know what they are talking about don’t need PowerPoint,” he said. Right or wrong?

I fell out of love with using PowerPoint in training some long time ago. They seem to distract groups from engaging with the discussion, and most people are either busy trying to write down the slide content before it moves on, or not bothering to take it in and then ask for a copy to be emailed to them afterwards. Either way, they’re not really listening. Maybe slides have a use with very large audiences, but so many seem to be poorly prepared visually, and clearly are acting as a crutch for the presenter. Some even, irritatingly, half turn their back to the audience and read the slides out.

Perhaps we should make an exception for the savvy social media trainer who can wow an audience by showing how to change a photo of a cat into a cow or a duck into a deer - thus deftly demonstrating how pictures of people can be easily manipulated online.

Power point or not? It’s a personal decision for the trainer, but how do participants feel about it, I wonder?

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