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Campaigner gets her facts about abuse wrong

07 March 2014


From Mr Richard Ashby
Sir, - Dawn Eden (Interview, 28 February) minimises the significance of her experience by misleading generalisation. It is just not true to say that children are safest when both parents live at home: 95 per cent of all child abuse is committed in the home or by those closely associated with it. The decline in the number of "intact" families cannnot be related to the increase in the abuse rate.

Indeed, it is highly unlikely that the abuse rate has significantly differed over the generations. What is new is that we are much more aware of it, and it is much more likely to be reported. And where is the evidence that "government-sponsored" sex education is leading to increased abuse as children are introduced to sex at an earlier age? On the contrary, experience in countries where there is early sex education shows that the age of first sexual experience is later, and the rate of teenage pregnancy is lower.

I would also take issue with her views about "chastity", by which she means celibacy for those not in heterosexual marriage. In the light of the current controversies in the Church of England and the recent surveys in her own Roman Catholic Church, it is clear that most people no longer agree with her.

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