A badger is cute but a child is more important.
Each week we receive emails and letters about animals. Sometimes we receive hundreds of emails during particular campaigns. This last fortnight we have recieved over 250 emails and letters about badgers. Other notable ones have been on Cayman turtle farms; circus animals; stray dogs; animal testing; and who could forget the beak trimming of hens. As Britons, we love our animals but do we love our children as much?
What I find incredulous is when there are serious safeguarding issues with children, suprisingly I get no communication from my constituents at all. The allegations around Jimmy Savile highlight that point. Not one email from a constituent. Surprising in itself because there were many years in Jimmy Savile’s life that he spend right here in the Calder Valley around Cragg Vale. How on earth can this level of abuse be allowed to continue for so many years with what appeared to be known or suspected by many people and it just swept under the carpet! Staggering! Some of this abuse hadnot taken place 50 or so years ago, some of it happened in the last decade. How can such a high profile celebrity get away with sexual abuse for so many years with so many people and no action taken?
Every month I deal with some kind of child abuse whether physical or sexual through my office or surgeries and whilst I accept these are not public cases, we have a huge issue in this country, even in 2012, of children being abused. One explanation is given by Dr. Judith Herman from Harvard University who says, ‘The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness’. Apparently this is a very normal human response that often feeds decision makers cultural disbelief and high level political indifference to sexual violence victim/survivor support needs (being seen as too complex a social issue to deal with). Victims of sexual crime are a very large, but also very hidden, and currently a relatively silent community of interest in the UK.
Dr. Herman also highlights that the study of psychological trauma has a curious history - one of episodic amnesia. Periods of active investigation have alternated with periods of oblivion. Let’s hope with the high profile case of Jimmy Savile and for the sake of children nationally that now we have a period of active investigation and we do not slip back into a period of oblivion.
I also can’t help but feel that if the plight of children nationally was as high up in people’s priorities as our love for animals, then perhaps we would have a much better society where we all could live. Sadly, the silence in this area is often deafening.
November 15th is Election Day.
On November 15 we see elections locally for the new role of The Police & Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire. I think it is absolutely vital to have someone who is democratically accountable for decisions around policing - something that has been sadly lacking. We have seen first hand with my comments above why it is important for people to have a person who is not only accountable but someone who can gain the public’s trust. Someone who can drive real reform. Currently in West Yorkshire our police officers spend an average of 12 percent of their time on the streets. Imagine what that would mean to visibility of Police Officers on the streets if that was increased to 24 percent. A doubling of visible community policing. It is time that someone finally grasped this issue with which the public demand to see results. An accountable person would get on and do this because it is what the public demand.