As soon as I heard the proposed willful neglect rules on the radio news I thought “they haven’t thought it through”. You might have heard about it and thought “what a good idea” but I think not.
In theory wouldn’t it be marvellous if no one kept secrets, and all professionals passed on information? These professional folk could actually end up in prison over it. No no no! It’s not right to jail people for not talking.
As I am a “survivor” of abuse I can see a huge flaw in the idea.
I confided in a particular teacher. I told them not to tell. I begged them not to tell. They kept their promise. Sounds bad I bet, but they were the only person I could be honest and open with. I was being hurt by more than one person, I’d talk to this teacher to try talk through awkward situations. Two people abusing me hated each other and I was stuck between a rock and a hard place trying not to provoke either of them. The teacher knew that they couldn’t make me safe. Social workers were already involved and weren’t helping to be honest.
I couldn’t talk to other children, as if they would understand? I spoke to the teacher about how to keep myself as safe as possible in a frankly rubbish situation. Without that outlet who knows? Why shouldn’t kids have a safe and truly private person to talk with? Why is it going to be a crime to keep a promise?
Sometimes I get so mad at the law, paedophiles avoid jail but a teacher (who has never harmed the child, only listened) could be put behind bars. The world has officially gone bonkers. This is not a helpful law change… well meaning yes but it makes my blood boil whenever I hear it mentioned.