Child abuse professionals have long been concerned to protect the young from predatory adults but now warn of the dangers of their peers. School playgrounds, corridors and online are all seen as potential sites of ‘abuse’ on a continuum from sexually explicit jokes to rape, and concerns are raised that schools are ill-equipped to deal with the dangers of young people’s interactions. Critics respond that there is now an elastic definition of sexual violence and that normal childish behaviour is being seen through the lens of abuse. How can we best support the young to form healthy relationships and explore their sexuality as they grow up?
Filmed at the Battle of Ideas, the speakers are Jon Brown, chair of NOTA Prevention Committee, Dr Carlene Firmin, senior research fellow, University of Bedfordshire; Dr Helene Guldberg, author of ‘Reclaiming Childhood: freedom and play in an age of fear’; Deana Puccio, co-founder of the Raising Awareness & Prevent (RAP) Project; David Perks, founder and principal, East London Science School. The chair is Luke Gittos, criminal lawyer and director of the City of London Appeals Clinic; author of ‘Why Rape Culture is a Dangerous Myth.’