The headlines in the UK have made less than pretty reading over the last few days: A gang of seven men are due to be sentenced after being found guilty of torture and rape in the supposedly genteel university city of Oxford.
Forget the dreaming spires, these men ran an underage sex ring that preyed on young, troubled girls who they fed drugs and alcohol while raping, threatening and sending them off around the country to be violently abused, while social services — who were supposed to be taking care of them — did nothing.
One girl tried to talk to staff at the care home she was staying at about her experiences only to be told it was not "appropriate."
This is the latest in a string of incidents that have seen gangs of men prey on young girls, grooming them for their own perverted lusts and pleasures. Similar incidents have taken place in other British towns and cities like Rochdale, Telford and Derby.
Then there is the case of the man who murdered a 12-year-old girl. This particular gentleman had previously been in a relationship with the girl’s mother before settling down with the grandmother.
Stuart Hazell murdered the girl and hid the body in the loft of the house he shared with the girl’s grandmother. With a background of causing grievous bodily harm, drug dealing and self-harm, Hazell went on TV after she had disappeared wearing a "Come Home Tia" T-shirt and looked into the camera, appealing for her to come home.
When police wondered about the strong smell in the house it was blamed on the cat.
The Welsh village of Machynlleth is as picture postcard as Wales gets with its cottages and gently rolling hills. Last year the hills echoed to the sounds of ‘April’ as volunteers searched for a five-year-old girl that had gone missing. A 47-year-old man is currently on trial for her abduction and murder.
Simultaneously a number of ‘celebrities’ who were household names in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s have been under investigation for sexual abusing young boys and girls. It took the death of Jimmy Saville, an eccentric one time club owner and DJ, before victims started to come forward to reveal how they had suffered abuse at his hands.
When people complained they were told, in effect, to accept it. The feeling was Saville was just too powerful. Police investigations soon widened into a three prong inquiry focusing on Saville, people associated with Saville and others.
The latest to be arrested is a soap opera actor, aged 81, who has played the same character for nearly 50 years while other ‘celebrities’ to be caught up in the dragnet include DJs and singers.
One more example will suffice. Cornwall councilor Colin Brewer likened disabled children to deformed lambs and should be put down. He was reelected in local government elections recently.
In Whitney Houston’s "The Greatest Love Of All" the song opens with the plaintive cry:
I believe the children are the future Teach them well and let them lead the way
We don’t seem to be teaching them very well, do we?
According to the Child Action Poverty Group, 27 percent of children in the UK are growing up in poverty with that number higher in some districts.
With the coalition government hell bent on squeezing more savings from their spending it is likely more and more children will fall through the gaps with social services, the very people trained to spot and help at risk kids, struggling to juggle their ever decreasing resources.
How many more victims will be told their complaints are ‘inappropriate’?