Below is an extract taken from yesterdays Times.
‘A new law against sexual communication with a child will finally be brought into force after two years of delays and public pressure.
Liz Truss, the justice secretary, will announce the law, which is designed to help to stop child sexual abuse at the earliest stages, today’.
Being Scottish in Scotland I was pretty amazed when I first found it that it wasn’t a crime in England and Wales as it is here.
The main thing to take from that extract is the part that acknowledges the weight of public pressure (albeit it still took two years).
Two years or not the fact is that it will be a crime when previously it was not.
It was only last month that the head of the NSPCC was bemoaning the slothfulness on this matter by Liz Truss.
This long overdue change was not achieved by throwing stones at houses. It was achieved by way of public pressure and public demand which was constructive. This led to it becoming more and more of a thing in the press until the point that Truss folded and did what she needed to do.
Its probably a subject where you could get almost anyone interested though. Nearly everyone will have a fit over child grooming online and with good reason. They either have children or they have family that do. They see that and they see the easy Internet access so they far more easily see it as a potential personal threat.
Cats and dogs? Not so much. People will get triggered by an extreme abuse story. But they do not see the action or the abuser as being the same clear and present threat that the groomer is. They perhaps should. But they do not. You can explain to them links between pet abuse and people abuse. They will sometimes listen or read it. They probably even mostly agree. But they default back to seeing it as pet abuse in isolation and not as much of a personal threat.
There’s no fast way of educating a large mass of people short of the TV media themselves deciding to push it and make it a thing. I do not see them doing that outside of perhaps one off programmes.
Last summer and for quite some weeks we ran a series of images that were specifically designed to evoke the idea of pet abuse = other abuse. We had several that were animal abuse/child abuse. We had one or two that were pet abuse/elderly abuse.
They concepts were extremely sound but in practice you need a much more reliable platform for the concept. It can take me an evening to think up the concept and it can take a designer three hours or more to make it into a visual reality. It can be a fantastic visual concept that’s on the money – but owing to the way FB strangle your reach, your concept will get seen by only a small % of those who even follow your page.
With ideas like that you’d need to bring them to life in a much more meaningful way than FB. There are no shortage of ways all of which would have a cost attached and, as with all things, we are clearly not in the position to do those ways.
I used to cost them up and plan them out in the hope that we’d be comfortably in a position to take such concepts and run with them on a grander scale. I don’t really spend much time doing that now since I’ve accepted the level of demand and support to do it properly just isn’t there.
It doesn’t matter if I found Britain’s best graphic artist and I then dipped into my vast advertising experience to create some award winning works. Without a proper and reliable platform to run that sort of campaign it makes no difference. Again, it comes down to people and them being supportive in logical and meaningful ways.
I’d be confident in saying that with my particular background and way of thinking I’d be able to oversee a campaign such as that extremely well and in some unconventional ways also. But there is simply not the level of meaningful public support to make it possible to do in any way that I would consider effective. We’ve been fortunate to be able to do the things that we have this past year. There simply isn’t sufficient sincere public aid that would make it possible to do anything more than that. That means you’ve no option but to temper your ambition and strategy in line with what the genuine level of direct public aid is.
The same is true of press. We got a lot of press for a brand new concept and a handful of people giving aid. Far more press than the cost of the events. Press is good. We needed more press and more often. You also need to start getting into the big sellers. How do you do that? By doing what we do but more of it.
The bolder and more relentless you are the more likely that the big press and TV media start running with it. However, you can only get to that stage if you have enough public demand to start with. If you do not have that then you will not usually be able to get the big players(in media) to take it on seriously and in a lasting way.
The short answer is that more people need to do more and give more. That’s the key to this. It always has been the key and it always will be. Its the key that would unlock the Government and its the key that would lock the prison doors on such abusers at last.
You will not shift this Government otherwise. You will be able to do a hundred other things that don’t involve their say so (rescue) – but you will not get a Government to do such a radical turn around without that weight of public pressure and without that lightening rod.
You may be ‘bored’ by my saying it. Not as bored as I am having to say it. If you do not get this Government to change then (once again) you are reduced to fire fighting the issue.
If you do not get this Government to change then you will never see these sadists properly punished and you will only see it spread.
I know its boring for me to repeat that yet again – trust me, I could think of better things to be doing than trying to alert people for their own good and in the hope that it might sink in.