Sunday, March 15, 2009

NSPCC part 2: anti family?

I've just caught up with cross-referencing the posts on my blog and it occurred to me that perhaps the NSPCC warranted its own drop-down menu in the sidebar, because I'd surely written two or three posts about them now. When the job got underway, I was amazed to find that I've written nine NSPCC-related posts. Or actually ten, including this one. Now why would a home education blog warrant as many as ten posts about the NSPCC, an organisation that's supposed to prevent cruelty to children? Something's badly wrong there, isn't it? That jars in the logic part of my brain, causing a traffic pile up and setting off all the sirens. It's not right.

So, today's post is about looking at the wider picture. On Friday we ascertained (as if we didn't know before) that the NSPCC has recently been running a vendetta against elective home educators, for reasons best known to itself but possibly suggested at in that little cartoon there. (I did think about doing another one of those today, but my artistic bravado has left me now.) Today I'm going to make some attempt to pull together all the reams of information I've been given about the NSPCC's other questionable antics, the idea being to try to find out whether it's just picking on us out of the blue, or whether this is its normal modus operandi. And if it is the latter - why?

Once I'd got over being bewildered about the NSPCC repeatedly suggesting home educators might be child abusers, the next thing that raised NSPCC-related alarm bells with me was when AHEd was writing its letter to their Chief Executive. Barbara (Chair of AHEd) asked onlist for someone to find out who that was, so I googled 'NSPCC Chief Executive', expecting to find a long list of pages about someone who'd spent his or her life devoted to the issue of child protection. Instead, I found this:

Children's charity gets media savvy

The article states:

Andrew Flanagan, who takes over from Mary Marsh in January, was chief executive of Scotland's biggest media firm, STV (previously SMG), for 10 years until he resigned in 2006. ... He left SMG in the wake of shareholder pressure and subsequently took up the post of chair at Heritage House, a private publishing investment company. He has also worked for PA Consulting, the IT and telecoms company Nynex, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.


A spokesman for the NSPCC says that while Flanagan has no track record in the voluntary sector, his "experience of leading large-scale organisations through growth and change" will be a valuable addition to the organisation.

"No track record in the voluntary sector.."??? Why does a children's charity need a media man for its Chief Executive? What does a media man know about the needs of children? This information in itself, coupled with the bizarre and apparently out-of-the-blue attack on home educators, made me start to think that things are not what they seem to be, with this organisation. And that maybe.. things are not what they should be.

It doesn't feel good to dig deeper. Believe it or not, digging the dirt on people and organisations is not my thing. Taking care of my children, my house and my land is my thing but when something threatens my freedom to do that, action must be taken. The first time I became aware that anything might ever have the power to threaten that, was around the time of the South Ronaldsay child abuse scandal of 1991, when:

social workers and police removed nine children belonging to four families from their homes on the remote Orkney, Scotland island South Ronaldsay in dawn raids, following suspicions of ritualistic Satanic child abuse. The nine children were placed into foster homes and barred from any contact from their parents. During lengthy interviews the nine children denied that any abuse had occurred, and medical examinations did not reveal any evidence of abuse.

In 1991 I was just starting my family, with sons of one and two years old, and the thought that someone had the power to come and forcibly remove them from me on the strength of rumour and hearsay, as had happened to the Orkney parents, was terrifying.

There were similar cases around the same time in Rochdale and Nottingham, and the culmination of the three generated a deep mistrust of social workers and a fundamental feeling of family insecurity in myself other young parents I knew at the time. Those cases didn't just do damage to the victims involved: they damaged society for everyone else in a way that's hard to explain now, nearly twenty years later.

So in researching the NSPCC for this series, I was horrified to discover their part in those terrible witch hunts. From this site:

We kept up detailed correspondence with Dr Alan Gilmour, director of the NSPCC, providing him with statistical information and background data about occultism in the U.K. well before their public support of the satanic abuse myth. Whilst engaged in correspondence with the NSPCC they, without warning, published a critical and sensational press-release supporting the idea of satanic child sexual abuse. The NSPCC did this without ever once asking to see our documented evidence to the contrary. When we sent them a dossier, containing suspicious background on people and groups from whom they had been accepting 'evidence' they ignored the dossier entirely and when we persisted the NSPCC took legal advice and subsequently refused to comment on our evidence. The NSPCC never once telephoned or visited us to review our evidence. They knew that had they done so, they would have had to retract publicly and admit a mistake over a pronouncement which they were already incorporating into a fundraising appeal. Instead they sent a questionnaire to their branches asking their inspectors if they believed that satanic abuse existed. It was this unethical and unprofessional 'research' that prompted the public statements in their annual report in which the NSPCC said that they had 'evidence' of satanic child abuse occurring. Upon sight of this we immediately prepared a condemnatory press-release showing the NSPCC'S inaccuracies. We sent this to the influential people on various NSPCC standing committees, including Princess Margaret, The Queen Mother; Various Bishops and others. We asked SOMEONE to telephone or write to us BUT NOT ONE DID. We then mailed out the same press release to our general mailing file (all MPs; Newspaper Editors and Police & Social Services). We got only ONE reply, a courageous journalist from the London WEEKENDER Magazine who contacted the NSPCC. A spokesperson for the NSPCC backtracked immediately and blamed the sensational publicity on the media response, denying that the NSPCC had said that satanic child abuse existed. When we wrote to the NSPCC and asked them to issue a press release to the effect that their stance on satanic child abuse had been misinterpreted by the media the NSPCC point blank refused. "It is not for the society to comment upon statements published in the popular press". The NSPCC were basically saying that even if their dishonourable handling of the situation had resulted in a jeopardising of religious freedom or victimisation of innocent occultists it was not in their interests to put the matter right under the hysteria which reigned. [My italics]

I don't know if that sounds at all familiar to anyone, but in the first part of this series on Friday, we saw a similar array of half-apologies and half-retractions from the NSPCC regarding its vilification of home educators - but the same fundamental refusal to make any effort to publicly correct the eroneous message it had put out.

The problem is, people assume (like I did) that the NSPCC is a reputable group of child abuse experts and not a mob of professional fundraisers and media men who are actually running it as a very profitable business. A good business creates its own markets, everyone knows that. But if everyone knew that the NSPCC appears to fall into that bracket, they would all cancel their Standing Orders and Direct Debits to the organisation. I know of quite a few home educators who already have.

So, what has the NSPCC been doing between Orkney and the campaign against home education? Demonising men, according to Angry Harry, who wrote the following in 2004:

The National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Children in the UK spends millions of pounds every year manufacturing advertisements and propaganda which portray men and fathers as paedophiles and child abusers. These portrayals are displayed all over the country - on TV, in the radio, in the newspapers and on posters. The idea behind them is to induce the public and businesses to donate money to the NSPCC so that its staff can help to protect children from these allegedly-abusive men. Indeed, their campaigns have been so successful that the NSPCC rakes in about £100 million per year in donations. However, in my view, the NSPCC has done a great deal of damage to our society. Indeed, my belief is that it has inflicted far more damage and harm on to the nation's children than all the paedophiles and child abusers put together. What follows demonstrates that the NSPCC has damaged everyone - including all our children.

- and he proceeds to demonstrate exactly how, with such eloquence that I'm not even going to try to reproduce it here.

So in its pursuit of funding and prominence amongst children's charities, the NSPCC has so far turned against pagans, fathers and home educators, causing untold damage along the way. Who's next? The Internet, according to The Devil's Kitchen in this scathing piece which includes:

The NSPCC, it may be remembered, had been pretty vocal in helping stir up the, quite literal, witch-hunt. Since, at the time, I regularly contributed to the NSPCC, I thought I’d drop them a line asking why they’d been using my money to such mischievous effect. This was, I recall noting to them, particularly galling at a time when systematic abuse in various children’s homes was coming to light. It was, I reasoned, inconceivable that the NSPCC hadn’t received complaints from any of the children on the receiving end of this abuse, so how come they were apparently ignoring actual abuse and, instead, starting up wild-goose chases to disastrous effect?

The reply I received was so breath-taking in its cynicism that it shook even me. Yes, apparently they’d had their doubts about this ritual abuse malarkey but I had to realise that they did an awful lot of very necessary work for children, this costs money, and tabloid bandwagons are a very good way of raising much-needed funds. They rather ducked the question about why they’d failed to spot what was going on in various children’s homes over the years, and hoped they could count on my continued support. [Again, my italics.]

In its campaign against Internet freedom, the NSPCC is working with Becta, our Mr Badman's new employers. (See the editorial down the left hand side of this page [opens pdf].)

Also, as pointed out by Elaine, next in the NSPCC tabloid child abuse bandwagon queue might be, according to their latest publications, women. Put it all together, and you have the blanket assumption (paranoia?) that parents aren't safe and homes aren't safe, but of course schools are, and anyone who's been CRB-checked is. Except - we know that's not true, don't we?

I think it's safe to summarise today that the NSPCC's recent treatment of home educators was nothing personal: it is its modus operandi. In the third and final part of this series, we're going to look at some research Tech has been doing, amongst other things, to try to ascertain whether all of this child protection hype actually does make children safer - or more vulnerable.


Blogger Gina xx said...

With regards to Orkney. I have friends up there and the social services still try to stop folks seeing their grandkids because of "satanic abuse". All because one of them is a former Wiccan and the other a heathen.
They had to go to court and supervised contact and everything. Their daughter (Christian)nearly lost custody. This was 4 years ago and still the SS and the scottish childrens services are interfering.

5:27 pm, March 15, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:43 pm, March 15, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...
If you follow the 'research' given in that doc you will see that it is non existent
And there is no research anywhere to support this claim...
''Maternal perpetrated abuse emerges as a particularly damaging form of sexual abuse with a variety of studies indicating that female sex offenders commonly offend against their own daughters and sons.''
Does anyone want to ask them to provide the grounds for that statement before they hit the press with yet another 'parent basher'?
Oh and this is the outfit they are launching the new awareness campaign with


8:46 pm, March 15, 2009  
Anonymous Jax said...

I'm CRB checked, does that mean I'm safe to home educate then? Honestly, these ppl are just beyond the pale. Are none of them parents? Do none of them have a conscience?

8:57 pm, March 15, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a new hobby. Whenever I see any organisation highlighted in your blog - like Becta – I go to their site and search Capita. And it always pops up. It's a government outsourcing company with lots of fingers in lots of pies.

10:11 pm, March 15, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:16 pm, March 15, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Gina, that's terrible.

Elaine, thanks for that. I didn't manage to get it all into the post and was hoping you'd come back with the rest!

Jax, the idea that CRB checking could possibly be useful is ludicrous, isn't it? I think we're going to talk more about it in part 3, when we look at whether children really are safer now that all these measures are in place.

Trixie, yep, definitely a Capita post on its way here!

6:48 am, March 16, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

The NSPCC were bound to become involved with BECTA as they are both charities benefiting from the tax payer and possibly wanting to create opportunities that will attract further funding from this lucrative source.
''Becta's sponsoring
department, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)''
DCSF Grant in aid - 10,459,000
DCSF and other government grants - 27,935,329
mmm 37+ million a year the taxpayer invests in Mr Badmans company and yet the review is independent.
Right I must be of we are meeting friends for swimming and I need to reinforce the brollies against the predicted influx of flying pigs with irritable bowel syndrome

9:53 am, March 16, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

off not of ,a grammatical error there I do apologise

9:56 am, March 16, 2009  
Blogger these boots said...

This makes quite shocking reading. I didn't know about the Nottinghamshire stuff and reading the articles about it linked from here is horribly familiar - all too easy to replace 'satanists' with home educators and it still makes sense. And the ridiculous stuff about the indicators for possible abuse - children scared of ghosts and monsters and fascinated with bodily functions ... surely that's 90% of all children??

Didn't Ian Huntley have a CRB?

That reply to the bloke who wrote to them about the tabloid bandwagon takes my breath away.

How can we get this info 'out there' so that someone has to respond in public?

12:22 pm, March 16, 2009  
Blogger elaine said...

I'm CRB checked with an enhanced disclosure. All a CRB check means is that someone hasn't been caught,or strongly suspected of, doing something criminal. It doesn't mean that person is an absolutely 100% safe person to leave your children with. That judgement is down to parents, CRB or no CRB. We've recently had a case locally of a GP prosecuted for posessing obscene images, some of babies. We've also recently had a teacher prosecuted for raping a child from the age of 5 until she was 8 when she told someone. E G-H

1:17 pm, March 16, 2009  
Blogger Gina xx said...

All a CRB means is that the person hasn't been caught.
I have to have an enhanced one done so I can take 12photos of children with full fencing gear on (i.e. you can't even see their faces, they are about as visible as a woman in a full hijab and burqa!) for a fencing club calendar. Hubby has to have one so he can run the fencing club website.
Yet I never had to have one when I was on a school's PTA.

1:47 pm, March 16, 2009  
Anonymous Su said...

Inspired by trixie-bacon I searched CRB and lo and behold, the circle is complete :-)

We're back to good old Capita!

4:26 pm, March 16, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

A truly cynical way of raising funds.

11:20 pm, March 16, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Elaine, I can see (with trepidation) I'm going to have to plunge into all these connections you've been making very soon and write a blog post about them. It's just so weary-making though, isn't it? Give me a nice, clean-cut govt pdf full of tripe, any day ;-)

These Boots, I believe he did and yes, that took my breath away too. The thing is, there's so much that needs to get 'out there' and the mainstream media has its own agenda. Blogging's the way to go IMO, while we still can.

Elaine G-H, the fact that CRB checks possibly have the effect of absolving people from having to use fine judgement in making decisions about safety and trust, thereby making children actually more vulnerable is something we're planning to cover in part three of our NSPCC series here. It's a very good point, thanks.

Gina, that's just bizarre isn't it?

Su, uh-oh.. yep. That Capita post is long overdue. OK, it's booked in for the weekend if nothing else crops up.

Tech - dear me. :-(

4:22 am, March 19, 2009  
Anonymous TDK said...

I know your core interest is NSPCC/Home Education but you might be interested in this website:

Richard Webster

He is a journalist who covered the Bryn Estyn scandals as well as the Orkneys, Durham and the recent Channel Islands non-story. He has a blog here.

And here is sample story in Spiked.

He seems like somebody who might be sympathetic to your cause.

3:27 pm, March 20, 2009  

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