Posted: 05 May 2016

A message from concert pianist James Rhodes

The countless headlines about children being subjected to horrific sexual abuse have been shocking. I’m writing to you as I’m one of the people behind those headlines.

I was a nervous kid, shy, eager to please and be liked, a sensitive boy, awkward and slightly apart. When I was six years old I was raped. It turned my childhood into a war zone filled with danger, threat, terror and pain. It was immediate and shocking, like happily walking down a sunny path and suddenly having a trapdoor open up and dump you into a freezing cold lake.

I know that being heard, being met with understanding and compassion, and feeling safe from judgment, criticism and blame are the keys to rebuilding trust and starting the healing process.

So I was shocked and saddened when The Children’s Society told me that older teenagers who experience the trauma of sexual abuse are being so badly let down.

With the law as it stands, the police are not able to protect 16 and 17 year olds in the same way as younger children.

It cannot be fair that as children get older the police have less power to step in and keep them safe. On top of this, too many children and teenagers are not getting the therapeutic support they need to cope with the ordeal they have been through.

Let’s not turn away

We have an urgent opportunity to make history and change the law.

That’s why I’m backing The Children’s Society’s Seriously Awkward campaign. I am proud to support this brave campaign tackling one of the worst dangers facing children in the UK.

Feeling able to come forward and speak out safely has never been more vital. A recent focus in the media on a handful of high-profile convictions simply does not show the huge numbers of offences against older teenagers going unreported and unpunished.  Those headlines do not truly show the hidden reality of teenagers trapped in dreadful situations and without any support to recover.

At last, there is an opportunity to help change this situation. By making a few amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill the Government can rebalance the law so it protects all young people.

Please join with me in showing these teenagers that someone is fighting for them.

Ask your MP to help us make history for the 16 and 17 year old hidden victims of sexual abuse by supporting their amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill.

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Seriously Awkward campaign: A busy week at Parliament

Posted: 15 April 2016