Understanding vulnerability

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

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Camila Batmanghelidjh asks why child protection remains such a challenge in the UK.

There aren’t simple answers but I so agree with her on this point:

Nationally we comfort ourselves with inquiries almost as if writing and debating a document solves the problem

I’ve long felt we suffer from this bias towards the written word and those who wield it with the least poetry. Don’t get me started on governments’ related fixation with getting celebrity “tsars” to write the things. As if the original Tsars were some kind of benchmark for benign wisdom?

I think she’s right here too:

It’s just that repeated prime ministers haven’t known what it feels like to lie in terror on your bed wondering what harm you’ll have to endure today, or to be so hungry that the acid in your stomach feels like it’s boring a hole through your flesh. They haven’t felt the shame that peels away layers of your self-esteem, exposing jarring insignificance in the face of those who have the goods and the power. They haven’t been there, where out of sheer fright and desperation you get on your hands and knees and beg not to be shot, or burned with a cigarette lighter, because you’ve failed to deliver a stash of drugs between dealers. In bed at night, between clean, soft sheets they contemplate, as a child is entangled in night terrors and wakes up to the humiliation of having wet the bed again. It’s the lack of proximity to the abused child that is generating institutional maltreatment.

I sense a massive disconnect between the dry, reductionist language of policy and the truly traumatic experiences of those it is meant to serve.

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