A prominent UK charity has been implicated in the production and distribution of a sexually explicit “educational” pamphlet aimed at children as young as seven. The booklet has been removed from one school in West Surrey after complaints from parents, but the charity responsible, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), has defended the material, saying the sexual material is already covered by the national sex education curriculum.The charity, ChildLine, a branch of the NSPCC, produced a 20-page illustrated booklet in order to help children identify and report instances of abuse, including sexual abuse. ChildLine operates a children’s abuse telephone and internet hotline and helps connect children and families to social services. The NSPCC is the foremost UK charity working in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to, and abuse of, children.
The booklet, titled “In the Know, Keeping Safe and Strong“, includes a quiz in which children are to identify the abusive situation among three scenarios that include “a goodnight cuddle from mum” and a visit to the doctor. The third says, “Your uncle promises you a new MP3 player if you take your knickers off and sit on his lap.”
“We want to raise awareness so that children speak out sooner and, as necessary, receive the help and support that they need,” ChildLine’s spokesman told the Daily Mail.
Thomas A Becket School, in Worthing, West Sussex, has pulled the booklets after complaints from parents. The school has since informed parents that extra copies of the booklet have been destroyed.
The Daily Mail quoted a father of two children at the school, Michael Auty, who said the booklet is wrong even for eleven-year-olds and is “putting ideas in their heads”.
“I don’t want my kids to look at their uncles and think, ‘He might try and do something to me.’ It would harm the family.”
“It’s up to parents to explain to kids what they should do if they find themselves in a particular situation, but the language in this booklet is just too graphic.”
The NSPCC supports mandatory sex education for all children, and has argued against the view that natural marriage between one man and one woman is necessarily the only way to create stable relationships. It has also campaigned to reduce the age of consent for homosexual sex to 16.
The society has been strongly criticised by fathers’ rights groups for its opposition to the rights of contact for both parents in cases of divorce, arguing that maintaining contact with the father is not necessarily in the best interests of the child.
In 2004, the fathers’ rights group Fathers4Justice occupied the NSPCC offices claiming that the organisation “ignores the plight of 100 children a day who lose contact with their fathers” and that they promote a “portrayal of men as violent abusers”.
Even the extreme left has criticised the group. In an article on Spiked in 2004, Frank Furedi, a Marxist professor of sociology at the University of Kent, said the NSPCC is “devoted to publicising its peculiar brand of anti-parent propaganda and promoting itself”.