Child Abuse Prevention & Social Awareness
Being Shame includes four topical true stories as the background to the main drama. The story depicts the investigative work of the National Crime Agency, paedophile rehabilitation therapy promoted by the Lucy Faithful Foundation, Circles UK’s volunteer support in recidivism prevention and the controversy around paedophile hunters.
The narrative highlights the complex issues around the paedophilic drivers that motivate online grooming, while addressing the ‘victim to offender cycle’. The central question is whether or not children who have been sexually abused will go on to commit sexual offences and if sex offender treatment programmes should be part of all custodial and community sentencing. Studies suggest that between 33% and 75% of child sex offenders have being sexually abused as children, although this statistic is often debated.
The film looks at how online-facilitated child sexual abuse is committed, shared and sold on the dark web. While it is not illegal to access the dark web, the dark web is often used by the most sophisticated offenders. Statistics from the National Crime Agency show that last year 2.88 million accounts were registered globally across the most harmful child sexual abuse dark websites, with at least 5% believed to be registered in the U.K. Since 2016, British police have been arresting between 400 and 450 people a month for associated offences and over 600 children are safeguarded each month as a result.
‘Public and media preoccupation with paedophilia is considerable, and yet the research that exists on this emotive subject suggests a limited public understanding, and uncertainty amongst professionals over its definition, treatment and management. Furthermore, the word “paedophile” appears to have taken on a life of its own in modern society, being used inaccurately in the media to categorise an exceptionally complex and varied range of people and problems under a stigmatising label that evokes fear and disgust. Well-informed discussions are eclipsed by social hysteria and moral panic. Some research suggests that widespread denial and distorted perceptions of paedophilia, both in social and professional contexts, actually exacerbate the problem and hinder efforts to tackle it effectively.’ - Stuart Avery, Integrative Counsellor
‘As therapists, we strive to embody empathy, authenticity and a non-judgmental attitude. But how do we manage this when working with clients at the far reaches of societal acceptance? And how does social discourse around paedophilia – the ultimate taboo subject – affect the working practices of therapists brave enough to enter such “unspeakable” territory?’ - Stuart Avery, Integrative Counsellor