Pants Propaganda

This is a story in the Daily Mail about how a 13 year boy was allowed to do a sleepover with two boys aged 7 and 6. Not surprisingly something untoward happened.

The story looks like it was co-written with the NSPCC’s propaganda department. The bullet-point headings to the story are:

  • Alana found out sons Ethan, seven, and James, six, had been assaulted
  • Perpetrator was friend’s son in his early teens who stayed the night
  • He showed them child porn images and then abused them
  • NSPCC’s ‘underwear rule’ helps young children understand sexual abuse

The last point of course is not a “fact”. It is a sales-point for the NSPCC. (Indeed none of the other points are facts either. The alleged abuse is being investigated by the police and no determination has been made yet about whether it even happened).

The story is that a mother of two young boys (aged 6 and 7) made friends with another Mum in the neighborhood. The other Mum had a son aged 13. The first Mum invited the other Mum round. When it was time to go the 13 year old son of the second Mum asked if he could stay over in the bedroom of the 6 and 7 year olds. He was allowed to. Later the first Mum found child porn on the tablets of her 6 and 7 year olds. And subsequently, thanks to the NSPCC’s underwear rule, she was able to find out that the 13 year old had (allegedly) sexually interfered with her 6 and 7 year olds. Thanks, then, to the NSPCC’s underwear rule the “terrible truth” came out.

There are several characteristic features of this story.

Firstly; the claim that the two young boys were abused is in fact just an allegation which is being “investigated by police”. This doesn’t stop the Daily Mail reporting it as a matter of absolute fact.

This whole passage reads like an advert for the NSPCC:

‘After I’d found the child abuse images I was really worried about Felix and what had caused him to access these images but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if the images I’d seen were just boys being curious online or if it meant something more sinister. I spent the day crying about what to do.’

In turmoil, Alana spoke to one of the boy’s teachers who recommended calling the NSPCC Helpline for support.

She recalled: ‘She explained that they’d be able to advise on whether the incident should be reported to Children’s Services and what the next steps should be.

‘It felt comforting to think that the decision about whether to report it would be taken out of my hands and made by a professional. It made it a lot easier for me not having to call the police.

‘I called the NSPCC Helpline when I got home that morning. The lady I spoke to at the Helpline was lovely. When she heard that I was getting upset she calmed me down by telling me that I’d absolutely done the right thing by calling them.

‘She explained that she’d have to log the incident with Children’s Services. But the best piece of advice that she gave me was to speak to the boys again and make sure that nothing else happened that night.’

Alana was advised to speak to her sons using the charity’s ‘underwear rule’.

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