What is the greatest threat to childrens’ lives?
I am going to attempt controversy here and not opt for any of the suggested threats.
Instead I would like to propose my own horseman of the apocalypse. Not a malovent concept, issue or word in its own right but a smokescreen behind which evil can operate unpeterred.
Now I am an optimist. It’s mandatory for a Nottingham Forest fan who has to live with long past glories.
I believe the vast majority of people on this earth are abhorred by the idea that a child could ever be unloved, let alone abused or harmed.
However it seems to me that it is this majority mindset that drives most of us (including myself) to inaction.
So when we see a terrible child abuse case at home or abroad we either take refuge in the fact that we are not culpable. Or we get upset and shout at the cat. Or just sigh and wish we could help but aren’t really sure how and so switch on the X Factor.
Unfortunately though children don’t gain protection from knowing a person they’ve never met wouldn’t harm them, from a slightly deafened moggy or from us getting angry at Simon Cowell’s inpenetrable smugness.
They get their security from having a network of trustworthy sources who can communicate their needs and can nuture and protect them and keep them safe.
If that network fails and something goes wrong, that safety net can break and the child suffers a fall from which many don’t recover.
NGOs like Save the Children provide a source of trust for the children they work with and look to re-build that protective network.
They also make it easy for us to help build that support.
This make makes inaction even less explicable because it is so easy to help groups like STC support vunerable children.
I propose then that the greatest threat to children come not from economic, enviromental, social or political challenges but from our own tendency for inaction.