I'm Malcolm Underhill a solicitor who specialises in acting for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Much has been done in the last two years to support survivors… victims of childhood sexual abuse, but in my view, we're still not doing enough. And we pay too much attention to the abuser. .. to the paedophile, and there is still a degree of unfairness. I say that and in fact, it's probably best summed up by one of my clients who says - they were abused as a child and then they were abused again.
And what he meant by that was that he was abused as a child. And then again he was abused by the state. And the reason he said that was that he felt that the abuser, although they were locked up in prison, were receiving a greater level of support. then he was and I have to say that I think he's right. We spend a great deal of time and money on investigating and then prosecuting abusers which is all very fine.
But those that are convicted for the offences they commit are quite understandably locked away and keeping them locked away requires an awful lot of money in fact, on average to keep someone in prison is about £30,000 each and every year that they are there. I have no complaint about whatever that cost may be, and we must pay whatever reasonable costs and expenses necessary to keep these people out of harm's way. But my beef with the state, with the government, with politicians, with political parties, whatever colour rosette they may wear, is that we should be spending this same amount of money on the survivors of abuse as we spend on abusers and paedophiles.
And unfortunately, we just don't do that. Although, things are getting better and there are more resources directed towards those with mental health problems including those who have suffered with childhood sexual abuse. The reality is in for many people, they may only be offered half a dozen or a dozen counselling sessions at say £100 ago and that clearly is not enough in its own right. And in any event, as I indicate, surely we should be spending the same amount of money on the survivors of childhood sexual abuse as we do on those that we lock away.
And we shouldn't just be spending money to support them in terms of recovering from the effects of childhood sexual abuse, but we should be investing in those survivors to help them in terms of forming relationships which is often quite difficult, once they've been abused because the issue of trust comes to light.
And importantly, to enable them if the abuse has had an effect on their education and their ability to progress in the employment market, then we should be targeting some money towards that in order to enable them to reach their full potential because in the long term of course, if those individuals are able to play a full part in society, then they will be less of a financial cost to the taxpayers.
So, it's in our interests not just simply on the grounds of equality, which is argument sufficient on its own. But also we should be ensuring that we dedicate sufficient funds as much as possible as is necessary to ensure that the victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse are given the best opportunities to overcome and to lead a full life.
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