Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Ayden's Law

A slightly different theme for my new posting tonight.
For those readers who have not seen my Twitter or Facebook feed, you may not have seen the above video or the below article.
Please take a couple of minutes first to watch and read these two articles.
For the last three years, as many readers will know, I have had an involvement with Sara Payne and Shy Keenan ("aka The Phoenix Post"), firstly working with them on the various FB pages and connected campaigns, then as a Trustee on The Phoenix Foundation, and more recently merely as a supporter of the "Sun Justice" (continuing the "Anti-AVP campaigns started a few years ago). During this time, as well as people that I have worked with, I have come to view Sara and Shy as good friends as well, which is the main reason for this posting.
Ayden's law has started well - New steps towards bully-free schools but it still needs the support of the public to help it come into force.
To show support for this proposed Law takes only a minute of your time.
The link to the online petition is here and it literally only takes a minute to complete. All that I am asking in this posting, is for you to click, sign and share this petition. Not my blog, that is not important - just the petition.
The aims of this law are as follows:
  • justice for victims - by introducing for the first time into criminal law a new summary offence of bullying and intimidation which would prohibit behaviour that causes physical and mental harm to another child, teacher, professional or member of the public.
  • community protection - by providing compulsory training for social workers so that they have the skill and confidence to:
  • provide much needed support to victims and their families
  • work with perpetrators to address their bullying behaviour
  • support their local schools and community in tackling bullying

  • family intervention - through a compulsory support programme aimed at parents that have a child that persistently bullies and intimidates others in school and the wider community 
  • Government leadership - a statutory requirement for Government to publish 'A Children and Young People's Annual Anti Bullying Strategy for the UK' and for the Prime Minister to report progress to Parliament annually. The strategy to include:
    • clear roles and responsibilities for Government, local Government, communities, schools and internet providers
    • fully costed measures that enable schools, local authorities and the Voluntary and Community Sector to take forward the strategy
    • indicators to measure improvement.

Thank you, and to keep up to date with the progress of Ayden's law, follow them here and remember to sign and share this petition.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Media AVP (Anti Victim Prejudice) 6 - "Historic"

"Historic" Abuse?

Continuing on my "AVP theme, a short but brief posting on what seems to be an all too common term used almost daily by various media outlets. The term being "Historic abuse".
Consider the following three recent articles relating to crimes that were committed some time in the past:
The first two articles referring to firstly the child sexual abuse at Grafton Children's home during the 1970s and 1980s, and secondly the Committee of Enquiry into decades of child abuse committed in various Jersey's children's homes. The third article referring to the murder of Tuula Hoeoek on New years Eve 1966.
Now, why the difference in headlines?
Is this a deliberate ploy to diminish this type of crime, or is this the usual "AVP" that the media continually churns out?
Cynically I cannot help but wonder if it is deliberate - why does the media (not just Jersey's) always refer to any child abuse investigations involving crimes committed a matter of years ago as "historic", and any other crimes committed as what they are, without the word "historic" - even ones committed further back in time?
I will leave readers to read this guest posting on Voiceforchildren to find out. Originally I had forgotton this Guest posting and was looking for Tom Perry's blog posting on this subject, however I have been unable to find it. As an adult survivor of child abuse, Tom puts the specific reasons far better than I can, so without further ado, here you go.
Thanks go to Tom and VFC for this publishing


Sunday, 21 July 2013

CSA Guidelines - An Open Question.

Dear Sir,

I have two queries relating to CSA (Child sexual Abuse) which I would be very grateful if you could answer for me.

My first query is regarding Sex Offenders treatment programmes and length of sentences.

There seems to be a lot of cases recently where instead of receiving a custodial sentence, offenders are given a suspended sentence so that they can attend a sex offenders treatment programme. The reason given, nine out of ten times, is that the sentence that they would have been given would have been too short, with no hopes of starting such a programme. An example of this is given below:

I am confused on two different things with this.

Firstly, these "sentences" seem to be far too lenient. We are talking here about paedophiles, who by their nature have a healthy interest in children, enough to either go online and look for these images of child sexual exploitation and child abuse/rape, or to go out and physically abuse. By committing such crimes, getting caught and being sentenced, the guidelines as per the below

should all be considered and adhered to. In particular, the following two:

"The Punishment of Offenders" and "The protection of the public". In the cases where offenders are given suspended sentences and are able to walk freely from court on the understanding that they attend a treatment programme, I find it very difficult to accept that the said offender has been punished and would not still pose a risk to children.

Secondly, why is there not the option to complete the Treatment Programme inside prison? If the programme is run over a year, 2 or even 3, then they both have to attend (as they are inside), and the public can be satisfied that "justice has been done" and they have been rightly punished. If current guidelines do not allow a longer sentence for those who need such a programme, why can it not be reviewed so that it does?

My second query, which I am equally perplexed with, is regarding the challenging of "unduly lenient sentences". Having used this on quite a few occasions, of which several have been recalled by the AG, there were some where I was informed that "Although in certain circumstances the Attorney General does have the power to refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal if he considers that it is unduly lenient, the power only applies to a limited number of offences.  It does not apply to  the  offences  in this case which, we understand, concern making indecent images of children.  This means that it is not possible for the Attorney General to ask the Court of Appeal to look at the sentence in  this  case"

Please can you let me know why this is precisely - I have tried to find out but to no avail so far. The first time I challenged this was for someone who had downloaded 94,000 Indecent Images and Films, with them all being a mixture of 1 to 5 on the scale, and he only received a twelve month suspended sentence, which I find to be far too lenient. Any offences involving any sort of child sexual abuse should result in a custodial sentence, and if it doesn't then I believe that we have the right to challenge this. It seems somewhat bizarre how the AG can refer some CSA crimes, but not others, when they are equally as serious.

I am asking this as an "open question" on my blog, and would be grateful if you would allow me to share your reply.

Kind regards

Richard Bougeard

Monday, 15 July 2013

Paedophiles, housing and IIOC

JEP Online Monday 15 July 2013
"RESIDENTS in a family housing estate say they are furious that a suspected paedophile is living among young children and they are calling for Housing to move him immediately.
Eighty people have signed a petition requesting that the Housing department move the man, who has been charged with downloading indecent images of children but is currently out on conditional bail.
One resident in the estate claims that Housing knew that the man was a known sex offender."

One hopes that this is an isolated incident (the placement of the suspected paedophile into a housing estate with young families living in it, not the petition to have him removed). From the printed article, it states that his particular house was "between a family with three young girls and a family with two young girls" - with two of his windows overlooking the estate playground".

However, being that this is the second story in a little over a year, regarding child sex offenders living in close proximity to young children, maybe this isn't an isolated incident after all?

It would be interesting to know what the Housing policy is regarding housing registered sex offenders and paedophiles. Reading the print edition, and seeing that the Housing department is a partner agency of JMAPPA, one would hope that these incidents would never happen, but obviously they do.

Where then do they house convicted paedophiles and sex offenders? What "criteria" do they look into when deciding this? Jersey is a small Island with a large population, so this is always going to be a challenge, but surely there must be far more appropriate places to house paedophiles than in estates with young families in. No good for either the residents already living there, or any relatives of the offenders who may be living with him/her.

Good luck to the residents, and hope they are successful with their petition and something is done.

Which brings me onto the sole comment under the article (before the JEP decided to close comments, why?). This comment stating the fact of "where to house as Jersey is so small", and "downloading doesn't mean he is a risk to children as he hasn't physically touched a child".

Firstly I wonder if the commentator realises what indecent images actually are? Why would someone go online and download (make) images of child abuse if they were not sexually interested in children? These images are not the "toddler and tiara" type posing of children - a lot of them involve the actual sexual abuse and rape of children. Stating the blindingly obvious, the more that view these disgusting images, the more demand there is to "produce" them - and the more the demand to "produce" them, the more rapes and child abuse there will be to do this. How on earth can anyone say that someone who is sexually attracted to children is not necessarily  a risk to children?

Last year in June, CEOP released an executive summary, detailed here
In this report, it specifically states -

"There is a clear correlation between IIOC Offending and contact sexual offending against children although causation cannot be established"


"Anyone who possesses IIOC poses a risk of committing contact sexual abuse against children"

There is also the 2005 US Butner study, detailed in here. which states

"a study was carried out on 155 US prisoners jailed for viewing child abuse images. At the beginning, 26 per cent admitted a physical contact offence with 75 children. By the end of the study, which used a lie detector test, 85 per cent had admitted to contact offences with 1,777 children"

therefore linking the viewing and downloading IIOC with contact sexual offenses against children.

Would you be happy if you had a young family,  and were knowingly living next door to a suspected paedophile?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Sara Payne - A Huge "Thank you"

When Sarah's Law is mentioned, how many of us think of the recently introduced Law that helps parents keep their children safe from known paedophiles? How many people really sit down and think of the human cost that this Law originated from?
The above article from last Sunday's Sun, is a heart-breaking, emotional read of the thoughts and feelings of one inspirational woman - Sara Payne. Without Sara, England, Wales and Jersey would not have the benefit of being able to further protect our children from known paedophiles. As a parent, I would like to add my sincere thanks to Sara for her selfless determination in bringing this Law to fruition to help safeguard our children for the future.
I will add some links further down, which highlight how this works, how to use it, and two further jurisdictions where there are on-going campaigns to implement Sarah's Law. Please read the below from The Sun, and if you are unsure how it works, please click and real the link at the bottom of this post.
" For most people, July is the month they most look forward to. Sunshine, barbecues and family gatherings. 
Soon enough, schools will break up for the summer holidays and thousands of children will play in the streets outside their homes enjoying the longer evenings.
Sometimes when I see them giggling and laughing without a care in the world, it makes me smile.
Then, suddenly, I'm jolted back to reality. I find myself worried about their safety, desperately hoping they get home, back into the arms of their loving parents and families.
It has been 13 years since my daughter Sarah was taken from us but the pain of losing her doesn’t change — the pain of missing her, her bubbly voice, her happy smile.

This aching pain feels exactly the same as it did on the day she was taken.
Since that day, as a family we’ve been left traumatised and I now live with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
Each day, I wake up and I am flooded with memories that I don’t want.
I’m currently recovering from a massive stroke, I have an active, growing family and work that keeps me busy.
But as soon as July hits, ordinary day-to-day things become difficult and I start to react in a strange way.
I suffer with flashbacks constantly — invasive thoughts that I can’t handle and everything feels so raw.
This time of year is an incredibly difficult time for me and I long for August.
Although my memory of that time is hazy, it feels like I’m back there, reliving each painful moment.
I cope however I can to get through it — it’s just about getting past it to the other side.
Once it is over, I feel such a sense of relief to know that I’ve managed to pull myself through it again.
There are no rules or guidelines on how to cope with grief.
One thing I’ve found is that time does not make things easier — it just makes me more capable of enduring the pain that losing Sarah has caused.
Sometimes, talking about the death of my little girl feels strange, as if it never happened, and other times it feels cathartic.

She would have been turning 22 this year, a grown woman. It hurts too much to think about what she would have been like as an adult.
There is no one particular thing that I miss about my beautiful girl, I just miss her.
I miss her presence in my family. Everything about her.
I try not to let darkness touch my life too much as I want to remember Sarah in a positive way.
As for my other children, we all cope with the pain at this time of year differently.
My boys, Luke and Lee, are grown men now, with their own families but all of us know that if we are needed, then we will be there for one another. They no longer need Mummy to pick up the pieces and we tend to leave each other alone to deal with our own feelings.
Since her death, working on Sarah’s Law has given me much-needed focus and positivity in my life.
I feel encouraged by the fact that change can happen in this country and I’m always overwhelmed by the amount of support I receive from families across the UK. But what means the most to me is that Sarah’s name and her picture now mean hope. She isn’t just a statistic — and that means everything.
All Sarah’s Law has ever tried to do is give parents information about people who could possibly hurt children.
To me, not having this information is just part of a secret-keeping culture. I feel so strongly that it is a parent’s right to have this information.
Sarah’s Law makes sure that no sex offenders are able to forget about what they have done and simply walk away, brushing their past under the carpet.
Their actions will follow them around, wherever they go.
They don’t deserve the gift of a clean slate and why should they?
Why should these monsters get to move from one family to another?
Before, it must have been easy for them to do this as parents could not check on them.
And I’m glad that it is uncomfortable for them now — they can’t just move on and hurt other innocent children.
Just as my own pain never leaves me, the same will be true of James Bulger’s mum Denise.
The news that Jon Venables, one of the young killers of her toddler son will be released again is horrendous. She must be going through absolute hell. Twenty years have passed since two-year-old James was abducted and murdered by Venables and Robert Thompson, but I know only too well the agony she must feel every day since losing him.
It will not have dwindled or dulled. It’s a constant ache, especially in February, the time of year he was taken from her.

Since Sarah’s Law was rolled out to police forces across England and Wales, it has become a part of everyday life.
The only negativity I ever encountered during the campaign was from suspected paedophiles.
And I take heart that if I’m upsetting them then I must be doing something right.
Sarah’s Law was received so gently by police across the country that it is just a part of ordinary business — almost as if it was always there.
But to hear the recent news that George St Angeli, a convicted paedophile, has become the first man to have his name taken off the Sex Offenders Register in a landmark court ruling — and that nearly 50 other sex offenders are applying to have the same thing done — makes me feel disgusted.
It undoes a lot of work I have toiled so hard and long on.
I know there is much more to be done. I’d like to see Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man roll out Sarah’s Law so parents there no longer have to fight for it.
I am furious they are still having the same old, tired arguments.
These arguments have been resolved and it’s been proven that Sarah’s Law works. There are thousands of children out there who have been taken out of possible harm thanks to it and I just want the same for all children, wherever they live.
I know I’m lucky that, as a result of the campaign, Sarah’s name has not been forgotten.
It is so rare that victims are remembered for good and it’s always been so important to me to make sure Sarah’s name is bigger than his.
What makes me carry on at this time of year is the knowledge that my daughter is now remembered for helping to protect other children — rather than the way she was brutally taken from me.
I don’t know what Sarah would have made of my work.
She was a very gentle little girl and sometimes I think it might have been too dark for her.
But I hope she would have been proud to see just how far we’ve been able to move forward."

Since Sarah's Law was rolled out across England and Wales, 4,229 applications have been made, and 635 children have been further safeguarded due to disclosures made to their parents/guardians because their children were in contact with adults who would pose a risk to their safety (paedophiles). Since Jan 2013, Sarah's Law has been in force in Jersey as well - hopefully anyone who needs to use it will do.

How Sarah's Law works?

Rather than a long post detailing the ins and outs, this very informative guide is probably the most in depth I have found. If you are unfamiliar with this, or want to find out more, please check this out.

There are two on-going campaigns for Sarah's Law - please pop over to offer your support. Gibraltar have a campaign on-going since earlier this year, and Isle of Man have been campaigning for the last two years. Hopefully the respective Governments will realise the benefits that this offers, see sense and implement this in the future.

A huge thank you once again Sara, a true inspiration.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Jurassic Park, 2013

 "Aiveepeeosauros" - Not a newly discovered species of dinosaur, but one that is becoming ever more prevalent throughout the 21st century.

As if Barbara Hewson's article in May's "Spiked Online", in which she argued the age of consent be lowered to thirteen (yes, thirteen!) was not bad enough, again she has shown herself to be totally on the side of perpetrators and completely anti-victim.

An "AVP Dinosaur" is a very apt way to describe her views (thank you Shy Keenan for this phrase - never has it ever been so apt as in this case).

Never mind the fact that in her previous thoughts, she has stated that the age of consent should be lowered to thirteen to "end the persecution of old men", (a veritable paedo-charter), the end to complainant anonymity, (how to really stop anyone ever coming forward to disclose), and a strict statute of limitations (get away with your crimes after a period of time - how long she doesn't say that I can see), she actually Laughed (yes, laughed, believe it or not) at the claims of victims.

In the above interview, when asked about Savile and satanic ritual abuse, she laughed, admitted she found it funny, and said "Satanic ritual abuse doesn’t exist, it’s like alien abduction.”. Later in the interview, she also said "it’s pointless to conduct an investigation of this kind into someone who is dead, as they can’t answer".

Sorry Barbara, but who the hell are you to make statements like this?

How do you know what exactly Savile did?

Did victims not try to come forward when he was alive?

How were they treated then?

Your attitude is inexcusable - do you really truly believe this nonsense that you say?

As if this isn't bad enough, Barbara then goes on to describe Stuart Hall's assaults as "misdemeanours", that were "displacement tactics" to make up for the fact that Savile was not alive.


Please don't forget, that paedophile, Stuart Hall's offences included the abuse of a nine year old girl - and Barbara, you describe this as a "misdemeanour"? 

How can you possibly describe predatory paedophile crimes as "misdemeanours"?

Disgusting in the strongest sense of the word.

No wonder victims find it so hard to come forward, and disclose abuse that they have had to endure, when people have attitudes like you have. I only hope that your views are a minority one, what hope if most Barristers have the same views as yourself.

And statutes of Limitations. Just how far back that Barbara Hewson is suggesting as a cut off is a bit of a mystery - there isn't anything that I have found to indicate a timescale.

So, how far then?

20 years?

30 years?

40 years?

According to the above clip, she states "I don’t agree with historic prosecutions".

Does this mean all "historic" prosecutions then?

What about very recent ones from only a few years ago?

Again, no wonder victims are reluctant to come forward - many I am sure would rather keep their abuse to themselves rather than have to relive it to someone who wouldn't take them seriously, that would dismiss them as "historic" and not worth pursuing. Better to live in a life of turmoil and keep it to yourself, than to relive it all in graphic detail to someone like yourself.

And as for the infamous May "age of consent" argument and the "I’m just simply saying the age of consent in this country at the moment is too high.”?

Imagine if the age of consent really was 13 (as opposed to the "unofficial" 13 year old "consent" )?
Imagine if it was legal for a 30, 40 year old plus to be able to use and abuse their position of power to target, groom and abuse children of 13? I presume that Barbara Hewson is not just talking about teenagers of 13 plus experimenting and having sex with each other (as they do), but the age of consent to be 13 full stop. What a disgusting and scary thought. Has she really thought about the implications of this?

The NSPCC may have stated her views as "ill informed" , but I reckon her views go far further than this. Her views, are in my opinion, part of the reason why abuse like Savile's and Hall's is allowed to go on unchecked for so long, and more than part of the reason why victims of "historic" (not that I like this description) abuse are so wary of coming forward, so wary of disclosing because they won't be believed.

"AVP dinosaur" Barbara Hewson's (and no doubt others) views are the problem that needs to be sorted out to allow victims to get proper justice, truth and closures.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

"Paedophilia Is A Treatable Illness"

Telegraph, 1 July 2003
"These people need help, and they should be offered it before they seek out child pornography – or, even worse, act out their sick fantasies "
Ignoring the highly offensive language that this article contains, (again with the CP term!), this article I feel really needs a posting about it. There are some statements in here and the easiest way for me to write a post about it is to raise them individually - all points and views being my own of course, I speak here based on my own thoughts.
The first statement I would question, is the  ''incidental viewers". In the article, Max Pemberton quotes that research shows that they access indecent images through conventional search engines and that they may "harbour underlying paedophiliac fantasies that have been repressed or ignored".
Unfortunately, although this statement has been made, Max does not include in the article, the source of the research. It would have been far easier for the public to have been able to have seen the "research" and judge for themselves, instead of accepting this as matter of fact.
Whilst some of the paragraph may be true, and a lot of adult pornography may portray adults posing as teenagers, I would imagine that most adult sites found via major search engines have certain controls and would prohibit under eighteens appearing on them. Also, I would imagine, the vast majority of adults who view adult pornography would know if there were illegal images or films on these sites and would avoid them like the proverbial plague - and would (hopefully) report any that were on there.
Am I being naïve? Possibly, but I would hope that most people are good people who would do the right thing.
And "harbouring paedophiliac fantasies that have been ignored or oppressed"? What on earth does that mean? I'm pretty sure that most adults know what "turns them on" far before they ever searched for porn online, and would look specifically for these things. I find it hard to believe that adults would suddenly discover that by looking for adult porn, that they find out that actually they are attracted to children and are some sort of paedophile? My own opinion of course, but one I am guessing would apply to most people.
Now the crux of this post.
"Is Paedophile a treatable illness"
The million dollar question.
One that I personally believe, rightly or wrongly (probably wrongly, but hey, what do I know..) is a resounding NO.
In my naïve mind, I figure out that paedophilia is just another form of sexual choice - another "fetish" for want of a better mind, that is adults who are attracted to children.
Simple as that.
What paedophiles decide to do with these thoughts are what makes their actions so despicable - so disgusting. They may not have a choice in having this sexual preference - but they DO have a choice in acting on it.
Which is where I disagree with the article According to the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases, paedophilia is a mental illness . By my reckoning above if paedophilia is another sexual preference, another sexual "fetish", then shouldn't any fetish be included as a "mental illness". What about people who have These? What about people who are attracted to legs, feet, leather, PVC - the list is endless? Is every adult with a specific fetish "mentally ill"? Personally I think not. Personally I think this as an excuse to make them look overly harshly treated by society - to make us feel sorry for them, to accept it - "it's not my fault m'lud, I have this mental condition you see.....".
More and more, paedophilia is being classified as either a mental illness (DSM5 state this as a "mental disorder", UK Mental Health Act 2007 now classify this as a mental illness since 2007, and Greece have this classified as a disability).
How long before your taxes are being paid to these "poor" paedophiles who are afflicted with their "disability / mental illness" by way of benefits? How long before LGBT has another letter added to it - P? The more that society tries to reclassify this crime as a "disorder", the more that society accepts this as an "illness", the nearer this day will come. Mark my words.
Apologies for going off tangent towards the end and detracting from the article, but it is time we stop making excuses for paedophiles and their crimes. They alone are responsible for their actions, and thus they alone should pay the price for their actions. No-one has a gun to their head telling them to abuse children or download indecent images.
They choose.
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
Eleanor Roosevelt