How much are our children at risk? jpoc opinion

Amidst all of the fuss being created over the News of the World's "name and shame" campaign and the subsequent riots in assorted English cities, the question remains as to how much are our children at risk from paedophiles?

Mothers are reported to be reluctant to allow their children out to play because they believe that there are vast numbers of perverts stalking the streets looking for their next victim.

Quite frankly, most of this is tosh. How many children each year are abducted from the streets of England, raped, murdered and then dumped? How many are killed by cars in those same streets?

Now, I do not say this to belittle the problem of the sexual abuse of children but as a plea for some sense of proportion in the risks. There are two lessons here.

First, if the News of the World and its readers really want to do something to make our streets safe for children, they should campaign for 20mph speed limits in residential areas. Together with traffic calming measures and a ban on the Bull-bars that are seen on many suburban off road vehicles, these measures would make our streets a lot safer for our children.

Secondly, we should target the real source of the sexual abuse of children. Most children who are abused suffer at the hands of their parents or siblings or other adults who are placed in a position of authority over them. Teachers, Scout Masters, choir leaders and care workers in children's homes are a far bigger source of sexual abuse of children than some archetypal dirty old man in a raincoat.

No, I do not mean that all, most or even many people working in those areas are paedophiles but those are the worst areas. In the words of a source who works with adults who were abused as children: "Children who go into care get sexually abused."

I will have more to say on this subject soon.

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