Blaming child sex abuse victims is shameful

In recent years, media coverage of child sex abuse has been credited with breaking the taboo and encouraging victims to contact police. But too often news reports use language that shifts blame on to the child, perpetuating ways of thinking that normalise and trivialise abuse, argues Deborah Cameron

Blaming the victims of sex abuse is shameful

The sexual abuse of children is an endemic problem, affecting an estimated one in six children between the ages of 11 and 17. In 2016, when the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales asked adult respondents about their experiences of abuse in childhood, 11 per cent of women and 3 per cent of men reported that they had been sexually abused by relatives, family friends or adults in positions of trust. Three-quarters of these survivors had told no one.

Media coverage of the issue, which has increased exponentially in recent decades, has been credited with raising public awareness and enabling ...

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