Wednesday 5 May 2010

Will nobody think of the children?

Well, Save the Children will, of course. On Monday they published their 11th annual 'Mothers' Index', which ranks the best and worst places to be a mother. Unsurprisingly, Afghanistan ranked at the bottom of the list of 160 countries – well done to Bush and Blair for helping it to get there!

A lot of attention is given to the 'Top 10': Norway ranks first, followed by Australia, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

But who is that just under the radar, at number 11? Yes, it is Ireland – the country that is almost Scandinavian, but just not quite.

And the UK? The place that unionists think is a better place than Ireland. Well, it's not too bad, at number 14, but it still isn't as good.

For the good of all of our children, it seems that a united Ireland is better than a United Kingdom – but unionism, for its bigoted reasons, insists on locking a quarter of our country into a backward state. It must be defeated, for the good of all of us, including our children.


New times, New approach said...

Ok, as long as they lock up their priests. Would you want your child to be educated by them?

Horseman said...

New times, New approach,

I think the problem of clerical sexual abuse in the schools is very much in the past. There simply aren't very many clerics involved in teaching any more (north or south). Most teachers are lay people, even in 'religious' schools.

Abuse isn't limited to clerics either, of course. I did not go to a religious-run school, but I got caned, slapped, etc by the heterosexual male teachers. No sexual abuse, luckily, though my school was in the news a few years ago for such abuse inflicted on kids by other kids. Plus ca change ...

laura said...

hear hear mo carra

Anonymous said...

The Catholic church simply should not be involved in any way with education. It is a violation of church and state. I would mention the USA has never allowed the public funding of one single Catholic school.

shane said...

and atheist Brendan O'Neill of the Revolutionary Communist PArty had an excellent article in Spiked on this issue

[...]Someone has to point out that for all the problems with the Catholic Church’s doctrines and style of organisation – and I experienced some of those problems, having been raised a Catholic before becoming an atheist at 17 – the fact is that sexual abuse by priests is a relatively rare phenomenon.

Even in Ireland, whose image as a craic-loving nation has been replaced by the far-worse idea that it was actually a nation of priest rape, incidents of sexual abuse by priests were fairly rare. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which was launched by the Irish government in 1999 and delivered its report last year, intensively invited Irish-born people around the world to report on incidents of abuse in Irish religious-educational reform schools, where the majority of clerical abuse is said to have occurred, between the period 1914 to 1999. For that 85-year period, 253 claims of sexual abuse were made by males and 128 by females. It is important – surely? – to note that these are claims of sexual abuse rather than proven incidents, since the vast majority of them did not go to trial.

The number of sexual abuse claims in these institutions fell for the more recent period: for males, there were 88 claims from the pre-1960s, 119 from 1960 to 1969, 37 from 1970 to 1979, and nine from 1980 to 1989. The alleged sexual-abuse incidents ranged in seriousness from boys being ‘questioned and interrogated about their sexual activity’ to being raped: there were 68 claims of anal rape in reform institutions for boys from 1914 to 1999. Not all of the sexual abuse was carried out by priests. Around 65 per cent of the claims pertain to religious workers, and 35 per cent to lay staff, care workers, and fellow pupils.

Of course, one incident of child sexual abuse by a priest is one too many. But given the findings of Ireland’s investigation into abuse in religious-educational institutions, is there really a justification for talking about a ‘clinging and systematic evil that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel’? As Ireland is redefined as a country in recovery from child sexual abuse, and the ‘scandal of child rape’ spreads further through Europe into Germany and Italy, it might be unfashionable to say the following but it is true nonetheless: very, very small numbers of children in the care or teaching of the Catholic Church in Europe in recent decades were sexually abused, but very, very many of them actually received a decent standard of education.[...]

shane said...

Anon despite all the hysteria, in the Republic of Ireland, less than 4% of all abuse was committed by clergy (Sexual Abuse and Violence Report in Ireland (SAVI), Dublin Rape Crisis Centre & Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 2002). And only 2 priests have been convicted for abuse offences committed in the last 20 years.

The media went totally overboard with both the Ryan Report and the Murphy Report.

David Quinn points out:

[...]As mentioned, a total of 1,090 former residents of the institutions reported to the Ryan Commission. Between them, they named 800 alleged abusers in over 200 institutions. But there was very wide variation from institution to institution in terms of the amount of abuse taking place in each of them, something that the executive summary of the Ryan Report, which is what most journalists will have read, did not make clear. For example, fully 50 per cent of physical abuse reports and 64 per cent of the sex abuse reports heard by the Commission that involved boys, related to four of the boys institutions. The same applies to the girls’ institutions. Three schools account for almost 40 per cent of the physical abuse reports, or 48 reports each, while 19 schools had an average of 2.5 reports each.

Sexual abuse was also far worse in the boys’ institution than in the girls’, which is probably to be expected. In the girls’ institutions, sex abuse was normally perpetrated by outside workmen, or by visiting priests or religious, or by foster families, with whom the girls occasionally stayed.

A relative handful of individuals accounted for a disproportionate share of the complaints. For example: a total of 241 female religious were named as physical abusers. However, four of these were named by 125 witnesses, and 156 Sisters were named by one witness each. In total, of the 800 religious and others named as abusers, half were named by only one person.

It is also worth noting that an institution only received a special chapter in the Ryan Report if it was the subject of more than 20 complaints of abuse. Sixteen institutions, out of the dozens run by the orders, had more than 20 complaints made against them.

When I first reported the above figures in the Irish Catholic and the Irish Independent, I was accused by a handful of people (fewer than I had expected) of ‘playing the numbers game’. But surely numbers matter immensely? If they do not, then why did numbers feature so heavily in the Ryan Report and in the subsequent media coverage of it, and in the debates about it? In the North, for example, it is not immaterial whether 300 or 3,000 people died in the ‘Troubles’.

If I were a member of an order that ran those institutions that were relatively better run than some of the others, I would want people to know this. I would regard it as particularly unfair and unjust if every institution was universally regarded as being as terrible as the very worst of the institutions[...]

shane said...

horseman, sorry for spaming the thread, but this UNICEF report indicates Ireland has by international comparison extremely low rates of abuse

At the top is a small group of countries – Spain, Greece, Italy,
and Ireland – where the rate is extremely low (fewer than 0.2 maltreatment deaths for every 100,000 children).