It takes a village to raise a child

One of the reasons that many people embark on a journey of personal development or self improvement is they have come to a point where they want to make changes in their lives.

Unfortunately, millions of  women,  learning disabled people and young children are not in the position to make these choices.

A popular African saying is “It takes a village to raise a child.”  The recent tragic case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in England really illustrates this.

Here’s why it takes a village to raise a child

The concept that it takes a village to raise a child relies on a community of people interacting with children in order for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.

Arthur’s murder is similar to a series of gut-wrenchingly horrible previous cases. Somehow it always does “happen again”.  Harassed Social Workers are hoodwinked by plausible abusers; distraught grand parents  clamour their concerns to the authorities – but end up grieving for a little life ruined  and gone.

Perhaps what makes this different is the CCTV film and audio clips. This time, we saw cruelty playing out live. Some of us could not bear to watch the video, or listen to the child’s despair.

it takes a village to raise a child

It’s no comfort that the meticulously recorded torture ended up as evidence. It has to be an unbearable thought that anyone following the case ended up wishing against wish that at least the six year-old  boy had been faintly conscious when the ambulance came.

That way he might have known that someone was speaking to him kindly. Even if “no-one loved” him, at least they didn’t hate him. That he wasn’t Hitler, Satan or just rubbish.

The harder you try to be fair the harder it gets. While few of us would want to confront either Emma Tustin or Thomas Hughes physically, there’s nothing to stop a concerned hairdresser calling the police anonymously. Why didn’t they? Why wouldn’t we?

Sadly, the case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Baby P, Victoria Climbié, Daniel Pelka, Keanu Williams, Keegan Downer and Tony Hudgell are just some children in the UK who have been subjected to horrific abuse at the hands of parents and step-parents.

it takes a village to raise a child

According to official figures from the Office of National Statistics,  there were 175 notifications of incidents involving serious harm to a child in England in the year ending March 2018.

  • The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that 7.6% of adults aged 18 to 74 years experienced physical abuse before the age of 16 years (3.1 million people); this includes perpetrators aged 16 years or over only.
  • The abuse was most commonly perpetrated by the child’s parent(s); around 4 in 10 were abused by their father, around 3 in 10 were abused by their mother.
  • Physical abuse is the only type of child abuse where there is no difference in prevalence between men and women.
  • It is possible to identify 117,617 offences of child physical abuse recorded by the police in England and Wales in the year ending March 2019.
  • At 31 March 2019, 4,170 children in England were the subject of a child protection plan (CPP) and 285 children in Wales were on the child protection register (CPR) for experience or risk of physical abuse.
  • There were 7.4 child homicides per million population in the year ending March 2018 (93 in total); the rate was highest for children under the age of 1 year (26 per million).

The report also states that – “child homicides indicates how many children have died as a direct result of physical abuse, but it does not fully reflect child deaths where abuse may have been a contributing factor.”

A great personal development quote by Madonna that is very inspiring says,

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”

This without doubt is true for the vast majority of people.  However, there are millions around the world who do not have the choice.

Part of everyone’s personal development should be looking out for those who need our help.