"1 in 35 men are paedophiles', "75% of men who look at indecent images are abusers of children", '750,000 men in Britain are paedophiles', 'In every town in Britain there are taxi drivers abusing girls" . . .
If I needed to create a series of sensational headlines, they might have included the above. If I did headline the above I might be in breach of copyright as these are real headlines of the last 8 years!
"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a well worn phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. . . . and anyway "Why let the truth get in the way of a good story!"
There is never true darkness in life. I have always found that occupying myself in research has always introduced light into my low mood days. This whole website is founded on research supported by my own experience. As a former 'academic' and social scientist, I should be able to construct an information-driven argument and ultimately come to a conclusion based on empirical data without too much contiguous emotion. I have never been afraid to present the uncomfortable, nor have I been afraid to 'fight against the tide'. When it comes to the behaviour of people and their management, there will always be many views and counter views, but at the end of the day the science will prevail.
People in high office with influence can easily grab the headlines with ill-founded information until others distrust what they say when it is found that all are based on half-truths or is completely inaccurate. The 'Chinese Whisper' scenario is all too common. It was Winston Churchill who expressed the balance of truth to lies with his: "A lie will get halfway around the world before the truth has the opportunity to put their pants on!"
Simon Bailey, the Chief Constable of Norfolk police and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) lead on child protection and abuse investigations, is reported by the Guardian Newspaper, to have said: "that while police had a database of 50,000 people who regularly viewed indecent images of children, research suggested not all were an immediate threat."
This assumes failure on part of the Police, as UK wide they arrest and prosecute less that 10% of this claimed 50,000. Even, if it were 5,000 a year over the period 2015 - 20, then they are woefully behind in reaching the 50,000. Dare I summise that a 'little porky' is being told about the imponderable numbers, racking them up to create fear, for then the public to concede to extra funding for the Police service
Simon Bailey went on to say: “What academic research would say is between 16% and 50% of those people who have viewed indecent images of children are then likely to be ‘contact abusers’ [of children]. That can be as high as 25,000 or as low as 8,000, [This group] poses a threat,” he said. However, the remaining group of child sex offenders – who are committing a crime by viewing the material online – are “non-contact abusers” who Bailey says do not “need to come into the criminal justice system in terms of being put forward before a court”.
I challenge Simon Bailey to guide me towards this elusive academic research and not leave the impression that these figures are being 'plucked out of the air'. This presentation of statistics is all good in starting to separate the 'contact abusers' from the online viewers of images, but does question why the available scientifically constructed conclusions from data borne from a Swedish study and why it has never been used, as it concludes that it could be a low as 3% of image viewers are engaged in contact abuse.
The rising public concern about 'Child Sexual Exploitation' should rarely be challenged and must be acted upon, but adding questionable or leading information to a 'fear' argument, will at some point discredit trust in the so called 'expert' and weaken support from the public.