Eminem helps victims speak

19th May 2006 at 01:00
The foul-mouthed lyrics of rap star Eminem are being played in some Welsh schools to encourage school-age victims of domestic violence to speak out.

The X-rated American artist has been attacked for his gun-toting, four-letter lyrics - some of which come with a parental guidance notice attached.

In some songs, he wishes his wife and his mother, who he blames for his traumatic childhood, dead. However, other tracks tell of his sadness and torment over his reportedly abusive upbringing, and his great love for his daughter Hailie.

Police officers from Wales's four forces have been trialling the use of music in their work with school pupils, following a meeting with music teacher Nina Jackson.

The head of music at Ogmore school, Bridgend, is heading 31 projects UK-wide charting the benefits of using music across the curriculum, including to manage pupil behaviour (TES Cymru, March 31).

At a recent workshop, she said: "If you listen to the lyrics of Eminem, there is a deeper message there which some children can identify with."

Police officers, who have seen positive results in their personal and social education lessons, say children can identify with the singer's anger, she said. Police constable Chris Mort said he had experimented with music in his work with schools in Swansea, with mixed results.

"You have to find the right music or children, especially in key stages 3 and 4, think it's really cheesy," he said.

"However, using modern tracks has been shown to energise or motivate pupils about issues such as drugs or domestic violence. More than anything it is a real ice-breaker."

Former teacher Linda Roberts, who co-ordinates the All-Wales school liaison scheme, said: "We are using modern music, including rap, to help raise the emotional intelligence of children who may have had bad experiences at home.

"A lack of emotional intelligence has also been shown to have strong links with criminality. The children can identify with the music and are more likely to open up to officers."

The police scheme comes as a new survey reveals more than half of all calls made to ChildLine over the last year alleging sexual abuse were rape claims.

Nearly 4,500 calls made to the charity's helpline last year were from children who say they have been raped. Of those, 842 were allegations against their natural father.

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