Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Normalising Deviancy.

I don't believe this claim for a moment:
About 1 in 10 children in the developed world is abused each year but official statistics indicate less than a tenth of those abused are investigated
This is a based on a study by the Lancet who as we all know never publish sensational inflated statistics. If there are over one and a half million abused children in Britain today then it would be horrifying. However as the article explains:

The definition of abuse was wide-ranging and included punching, hitting, beating, burning, rape, exposure to pornography as well as neglect and emotional abuse such as making a child feel worthless or unwanted.

Clearly punching, burning, raping and severe neglect are examples of child abuse (although I suspect 'hitting' means corporal punishment) but when you get into 'making a child feel worthless' then that could mean almost anything. A parent who snaps at a child to shut up might make the child feel worthless, but unless it is constant it is hardly abuse.

Is the reason they are defining child abuse so widely to make it appear as though we are all guilty and that real abusers are no worse than millions of normal people.


Update: More Lancet fun here.

4 comments:

James Higham said...

Is the reason they are defining child abuse so widely to make it appear as though we are all guilty and that real abusers are no worse than millions of normal people.

Yes.

Umbongo said...

Ross

As you note, the Lancet has form where tendentious and fifth-rate research with a political agenda is concerned.

However, that other transmission belt of bien pensant blurb, the BBC, couldn't wait to jump on the "we're all guilty" and "social workers are the real victims" band-wagons. The interview on Today with Professor Jane Barlow from the University of Warwick - who sounds suspiciously like our Jacqui at the Home Office - was straight from the "thank you so much for such valuable work - what can we do to contribute?" school of journalism. In other words, take the conclusion of the report (which fits in nicely with the BBC mindset of heroic state workers wiping tears from the eyes of abused children) at face value and go on from there.

Ross said...

" the "thank you so much for such valuable work - what can we do to contribute?" school of journalism. "

I didn't hear the interview but I know the kind thing you mean by that.

North Northwester said...

Ah, Leftwing stats.
Remember how the Kinsey report created a10% homosexuality rate for the population at large?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Behavior_in_the_Human_Male

So we get, 'I am the one in ten' meme.

But, look, it appears to have been ahem, skewed.
http://www.leaderu.com/marco/special/spc11b.html

AND

http://www.leaderu.com/jhs/reisman.html

AND

http://www.familyresearchinst.org/FRI_AIM_Talk.html

'Parents account for most types of maltreatment except for sexual abuse, which is usually committed by other family members or an acquaintance, researchers said.'

So parents shy away from sexually abusing their own kids, even in the lancet 100,000 war dead in Iraq journal.

And here's the catch-all that makes it meaningless:

'The definition of abuse was wide-ranging and included punching, hitting, beating, burning, rape, exposure to pornography as well as neglect and emotional abuse such as making a child feel worthless or unwanted.'

Did they ask kids in private 'Have your parents ever shouted at you? Told you that you'd been naughty? How did that make you feel?'
Tick.

Extrapolating extremes into commonplaces by lumping such a wide range of crimes and innocent behaviours together [we all saw corporal punishment slipped in there as 'abuse?'] you'll get a report that everyone who didn't read it, and this includes me so far, remembers as something like 10% of children are sexually or violently assaulted.

I also wonder how poor diet - by middle-class doctors' standards - is included in 'abuse' as 'neglect?'

This is as dishonest as Karl Marx using the under-capitalised and traditional (as distinct from capitalised and industrial) craft of lace-making as typical of how 'capitalism' and exploits workers.