The Victimisation of Childhood Understanding Children and Violence

Friday, July 18, 2014: 9:18 AM
Room: Booth 64
Oral Presentation
Lorraine RADFORD , School of Social Work, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom
The media and campaigning organisations have influenced public perceptions of violence and young people by focusing on rare and sensationalist events such as homicides, extreme cases of child abuse and young people orchestrating riots from smart phones in inner city areas. Representations of children and young people as either ‘victims’ or ‘villains’ has consequences for their wellbeing – their experiences of violence are misrepresented and over simplified, fragmented accounts of the causes and consequences hinder progress in policy and practice.  Taking a feminist approach to the sociology of childhood and drawing on recent research findings, this paper will consider what is helpful to know about the risks of abuse, neglect and violence when working or interacting with children and young people.

Key questions addressed will be:

What is known about the prevalence and impact of abuse, neglect and violence in the lives of children and young people today?

What are the gender and age related risks? Who does what, to whom? What are the risks to children and young people at different ages from different perpetrators?  How much abuse and violence is committed by children and young people?

Is the world a more dangerous place where children experience more violence and commit more violent crime than ever before?

Are adults’ fears about and responses to child abuse and children’s violence part of the problem?

What are the challenges and opportunities we face in putting children’s experiences of abuse, neglect and violence and their rights and agency at the centre of thinking and practice?