What Went On In The UK’s Institutions? (Part 1)

This is an attempt at trying to explain in a very simplistic way why the UK is embroiled in a massive child sexual abuse scandal related to UK institutions. It must be a question that many members of the public are asking as they daily read about sickening revelations in the news.

Two points must be made clear at the outset; 1) I am not an expert. This is just an honest attempt at trying to explain an extremely complex issue and 2) As I’ve said before, the overwhelming majority of people that work in the institutions that I will refer to are not paedophiles. In fact, I think it is a tragedy that many who have dedicated their lives to making children’s lives better are likely to fall under suspicion by association.

To start with we must understand paedophiles themselves. I could attempt to categorise them more accurately into many sub-groups but to simplify it I’m going to categorise them into 3 broad groupings. As with any attempt at categorisation of paedophiles the lines between the categories are ill-defined, there will be crossover between these groups. All are dangerous.

The Opportunist Paedophile

This group are probably responsible for the majority of child sexual abuse in the UK. It is often stated that the majority of child abuse is perpetrated in the home by a relative or friend of the family. Some predatory paedophiles will target families, seeking to gain access to children by  forming a relationship with a parent but the opportunist paedophile does not seek out children to abuse, he simply takes advantage of opportunities that arise when they arise.

The ‘Amateur’ Predatory Paedophile

Apologies for the term ‘amateur’.  This category of offender seeks out children to abuse. He is the kind of offender who will hang around  parks or playgrounds or outside of schools. He might stalk a child or try and coax them into his car. He might try and form relationships with children gaining their trust, grooming them with offers of treats. He is the classic ‘stranger danger’.

About 9 months ago a friend called me concerned about a situation local to her. Children were entering a man’s home unaccompanied. The man kept lots of birds. The children were visiting him because they wanted to look at the birds. The police were informed and the man turned out to have had a previous record for sexual offences against children. Needless to say, local parents were more careful from that point onward.

The ‘Professional’ Predatory Paedophile.

This category of offender not only seeks out children to abuse but also finds occupations and hobbies which give him access to children. It is this group that I want to focus on.

In general, the greatest barrier between a child abuser and his victim is the parent, excepting situations where a parent is themselves an offender. Parents normally have a protective instinct and so ‘professional’ predatory paedophiles infiltrate institutions and organisations where the parent is absent or non-existent. He also wants as much access to the child as he possibly can. Given these two very simple criteria we can form an idea of which occupations a paedophile might target.  By attempting to put in order which occupations predatory paedophiles are attracted to, I am not suggesting that sexual abuse is less serious for the victim in some institutions than others. They are all equally appalling.

In order they are;

1) Foster Care: Not only is there unlimited access to the child but the offender himself takes on the role of guardian. Little has been mentioned about this in the press but I’d expect much more to come out in the future.

2) Residential Children’s Care Homes: Or other similar institutions. In these cases the Local Authority is often the lawful guardian and not an individual with a protective bond with the child. The child, almost by definition, is vulnerable by virtue of the reason why they were put in care. Once again, a predatory paedophile can have almost unlimited access to children.

3) The Catholic Church: The power of this organisation within the Catholic community can not be underestimated. The fact that priests are called ‘Father’ should not be overlooked. It is more than just a symbolic assumption of the role of parent, not only to the children but to the children’s biological parents and the community at large. The requirement of celibacy for priesthood means that paedophiles do not have to explain why they do not have normal adult relationships and the quasi internal canonical legal system which encourages confidential confession of ‘sins’, often criminal offences, can keep incidences of offending away from the secular legal system. Victims can be easily intimidated into remaining silent and there is a strong incentive for the church authorities to cover-up these crimes to try to protect the reputation of the Church. I’ve put the Catholic Church at number 3 but that organisation also organises foster care and residential care for children which I’ve placed at numbers 1 and 2.

It is not that Catholics are more likely to be paedophiles, it is that if a predatory paedophile is a Catholic then entering the priesthood gives them the greatest and, for them, safest access to children. Non-Catholics paedophiles will just find alternative ways.

4) The Boarding School: The parent is not present and access to the child is 24 hours during term time. There might also develop a ‘culture’ of abuse within such an institution which a child might not understand is wrong.

5) The Anglican Church: I’ve put this lower than the Catholic Church as it does not have the same power in the wider community. That said many of the points made above for Catholicism apply also to the Anglican Church. Other organised religions also sit within this group.

6) The Scout Association: This gives regular access to children without parents being present.  Along with Scouting I’ll include other clubs and organisations which cater specifically for children.

7) Non-Residential Schools:  I’ve put this quite low on the list as it is extremely difficult for a member of staff to offend during school time. However, the position of trust that a staff member has can be exploited in after school activities. I’m including Art and Music Schools which offer one to one tuition in this group.

8) Professionals: There is a qualification bar which prevents many predatory paedophiles from becoming doctors, or child psychologists, politicians, the judiciary, or similar professions but when it happens it is very serious. These people often enjoy a status and respect within their community which they then exploit.

9) Celebrity: Celebrity is the hardest status for any individual within society to attain. Celebrities like Jimmy Savile, Ray Teret, Rolf Harris, and Stuart Hall may grab the headlines when their crimes against children become known but I’ve rated this group last. Ironically, they are caught after being identified by their victims for virtually the same reason that they are able to offend in the first place. They are ‘famous’, they are known.  Those that question why celebrities have been arrested but why establishment VIPs have not should think back to when they were 12 years old and ask themselves whether they’d be more likely to identify Jimmy Savile or a Cabinet Minister or a High Court judge.

These are just broad ‘occupations’ which the majority of ‘professional’ predatory paedophiles will seek to infiltrate. I’m sure readers will suggest others. This category of paedophile might not target just one occupation, for example I’m aware of one offender, who I can not name for legal reasons, who is a Catholic priest who helped out in a residential children’s home and who was involved in scouting. That one example should give readers some idea of the single minded determination of predatory paedophiles in their attempts to gain access to children.

Having looked at the institutions that predatory paedophiles will target, I’ll look at the systemic failures within other organisations which were meant to safeguard children and protect them from people like this, in Part 2.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “What Went On In The UK’s Institutions? (Part 1)

  1. Richyok

    You may not classify yourself as an ‘expert’, but you have certainly simplified a complex subject into one that is a lot more understandable – that in itself is an enormous achievement – I look forward to part two – Thankyou

  2. Colin

    I have to agree with Richyok, well written

  3. Gojam you should get yourself a column in the MSM.

  4. LJMT

    Very good, with the caveat that it would be horrific if people came under suspicion just because they had worked under many of these headings when they did so for virtuous reasons.

    I am surprised also at no mention of secret/social societies/services.

    I would also add that it would be appalling, and it already begins to happen, that those who care most about their reputations, and for whom there is no hidden reward, should steer clear of employment in these very necessary areas, when the best way for keeping the crooks in order is to flood these areas with decent folk, who would whistleblow very speedily.

    • Hi, I mentioned the first point, the second is duly noted, and the final point I missed and is absolutely spot on.

      • LJMT

        Yes, I recognize you mentioned the first, and sorry if I overstressed it, but have known one or two people who have worked in several of these but on the right side and been involved in stopping abuse, which is partly how I know just how bad things are…

        Thanks for all you do which is gives hope to so many.

  5. Roger Dee

    It’ll be a futile exercise if you fail to take account of psychopathy. That’s the key….

  6. Sam

    With respect, Gojam, you omitted Youth Clubs. I have professional experience of the prevalence of paedophile involvement. To the extent that I would not allow my own children to frequent such groups.

    Also, having worked amongst those in various tiers of leadership, I thoroughly agree with Roger Dee (above) in that there is a preponderance of psychopathic personalities who engineer their way into positions of power.

    Psychopathic leadership is absolutely at the root of CSA and all institutional abuse. It’s the sea in which paedophiles and many other abusers swim freely without fear of being apprehended.

    Personally, I’d advocate for ALL proposed leaders/high officials to be thoroughly examined for signs of this profoundly destructive personality disorder.

    Until we, as a society, get to grips with this horrendous disorder we will never be free of institutionalised abuse and the psychopath-induced fear that runs all our public institutions and services.

    See e.g. http://iai.tv/video/the-hubris-syndrome – Politician Dr David Owen’s description of such personality disorders amongst leaders.

    • Hi Sam,

      You’re absolutely correct. Youth clubs fit in the same category as the Scouts where I mention other clubs and organisations. They were in my mind at the time of writing.

      • Sam

        Thanks, Gojam.
        I guess my work experiences of local authorities have made me alert to the despicable ways that staff/officials’ crimes and negligences are often hidden from view (c.f. the Rotherham tip of the iceberg…).

        The Scouts have made public their apologies, as has the Catholic church;let’s note that there have been no such coherent mea culpas from local authorities. From experience, this failure is probably coloured by their perceived need to limit legal liabilities, not to mention the collective arrogance that abounds and for which they have no language. Again, only psychopathic mindsets can prioritise money-saving and preserving power and face above the injuries and needs of the children and adults they are supposed to serve.

  7. dpack

    at the moment there are about half a million scouts in the uk who are part of the world wide organisation ,factor in about a century of history and the known numbers of offenders and victims .

    im not good at maths and stats but it might be an interesting task for somebody to quantize this issue
    perhaps the number of “wrong uns”and victims is a lower proportion of the total membership than both public and my perception would suggest

    i wonder how that sort of maths would apply to other institutions ?
    perhaps a “risk table”for various organisations would be useful to identify where remedies should be applied .

    there does seem to be geographic variations in risk within “care”institutions as can be seen in the greenlight data maps.i suspect data by organisation would also highlight good practices or institutionally inept and corrupt practices .

    • Sam

      It would be truly helpful to know the extent of CSA and related abuse.

      I suspect that there is absolutely no appetite for such data gathering/risk assessment. It would appear that it’s still a research topic that the good guys raise at their peril.

      However verboten, as someone who’s designed and led on data gathering, analysis and recommendations for central and local gvt, I would hazard a guess that sexual abuse across the age range is at epidemic levels.

      An EU study a couple of years ago found that e.g. 2/3rds of UK women had been sexually abused at some point in their lives, and that the UK prevalence of such abuse was, surprisingly, amongst the highest compared against other EU states.

      Couple that with e.g. the hundreds of young people abused by one man alone (how many more lone lifelong perpetrators are out there ?), the numbers of young people failed by e.g. Rotherham authorities and perhaps many others, as well as the increasingly evident existence of organised rings of paedophiles and child pornographers and consumers…and it looks like the UK has, very sadly, a thriving, distinct yet still underground culture of child sexual abuse. Off the top of my head, I’d estimate perhaps as many as 15% of men are CSA perpetrators with perhaps almost as many women turning a blind eye to their male relatives’ despicable activities or even participating.

      Given that the high incidence of this crime is becoming clearer and clearer, that CSA wrecks lives and families and is so pervasive and enmeshed in our society that its revelation and injuries threaten our very establishment even as we speak, I’d not underestimate the numbers of perpetrators. Better to err on the side of caution, particularly if we want to raise a new, healthier and happier generation.

      But hey! I’d be up for that research! I suspect though that my team and I would soon be e.g. receiving death threats, being stalked and harassed, weirdly struck off doctors’ lists, have bizarre difficulties in obtaining other public services, vexatiously accused of CSA ourselves and just generally have our lives made hellish.

      I think one of the great problems in uncovering CSA is that the general public, decent and law-abiding as the majority are, simply cannot grasp the routine, heinous culture of duplicity and ‘us-v-public’ defensive cover-up amongst our public services. We just trust them far too much to do the right thing and be ethical. ‘Public services’ went AWOL a long time ago.

  8. Pingback: What Went On In The UK’s Institutions? (Part 2) | theneedleblog

  9. Thank you for this and all your ongoing work.

  10. Andy

    Given that the vast majority of the institutional child abuse which is slowly coming to light (elm guest house, care homes, boarding schools, catholic clergy etc) has clearly involved homosexual men abusing boys, why the reluctance to even mention this? Are we not supposed to notice that this has been an almost exclusively homosexual pedophile activity? Just saying.

    • Sam

      That’s an interesting point. Personally, I’ve not thought of this horrible epidemic as an almost exclusively homosexual paedophile problem.

      That’s probably because all the cases I personally know about or have been a witness in have been all perpetrated by heterosexual men, even heterosexual families.

      I really don’t know, but is paedophila a male disorder with sexual orientation towards women or men rather secondary? Is paedophila the primary sexual orientation?