Jon Venables.

March 10, 2010

When I was a social worker, I worked with young people over the age of 11. I have also worked with young children. Working with young ‘people’, and working with young children- very very different.

I worked with Looked After Children. My job with them- to work to support them in their lives, act as a corporate parent. My other role, to manage the after effects of the abuse they suffered. Working in this area is not that stressful. The state shares parental responsibility for them, that responsibility brings with it a responsibility to financially support them. That responsibility also means questions are asked if they do reoffend. It is fairly easy to get resources for these children.

With young children it is fairly easy to get resources,  young kids are cute,  the effects of their abuse have rarely become apparent. In some cases, the behaviours shown by Venables and Thompson with James Bulger, are seen in much younger children-usually precipated by severe physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

I have worked in other teams with over 11’s, where many of the kids should  have been in care long ago= but the opportunity  passed. It is not so easy to get resources for these kids.

They are left in situations, which if they were cute and marketable- would be seen as abhorrent. Long term brutalisation and  neglect, mean that  THEIR  behaviour is what warrants social services intervention. Society would quite like these kids to disappear, because they are a bit of a drain, and a stark reminder of what happens when society fails.

The state describes them as children in need. The threshold at which the state will consider them to be at risk, is much higher than for younger children.  So no financial responsibility. Ergo- inadequate resources to manage them.

What I learned in this job, is that teenagers are sometimes difficult to work with.  You are talking about kids, where the foundation upon which they built their lives, has been brutalisation, sexual abuse, and neglect, at the age where the effects of that abuse are becoming apparent.What makes this difficult work impossible, is the attitude to these children from the rest of society.

We had a ‘wall of fame’ in our office. A wall of tabloid, and local newspaper clippings, with our kids on it. Each headline represented a case where simplistic analysis of the problems we were dealing with, had been seized on by hacks, looking to make cheap political shots out of the lives of young people. I daren’t think of how much work was flushed down the toilet because of these reports.

Watching a 13-year-old, who has worked for over a year, to stay at school, to not offend- in the hope of getting a place on a group holiday, and seeing the press undermine that in one attempt-by calling it rewarding offenders. Working with specialist foster carers, who can do the work with a young person to reduce the risk of them offending, can give them the thing that they need- but have to refuse because  some vigilante will pick up on the child being there.  Turning on Jeremy Kyle, and seeing a chat show host undermine 5 months of work, after getting your clients pissed, and having his researchers egg them on- so that they can be baited live on television. Not fun.

I have had  cases where kids as young as 4, 5, 6, showed behaviour which mirrored Venables and Thompsons. Their behaviour patterns, an expected consequence of abuse. A consequence to be managed. I have worked to manage the risk of teenagers who were likely to abuse other children. Many of the parents of these children and young people, continuing the cycle of abuse they themselves suffered.

Children. With a child’s understanding.  Childish perception, and the consequences of abuse, are not happy bedfellows.

This is not true in all cases.  I myself am a care leaver. There is individual responsibility, but the question of responsibility arises when someone is old enough to actually understand it.

When these children come into contact with the criminal justice system, that contact is supposed to be  contextualized with the circumstances of their lives- and plans for managing their behaviour are supposed to take this into account.

We recognise that brutalised children do terrible things. Risk management, and solid evidence about how we treat them-are what should guide us. Not only in addressing the damage done to them, but to manage possible risk their behaviour may pose.

This isn’t the same as saying that it is ok for those kids to behave how they like, because they are abused. It is about making sure intervention is  guided by facts, evidence, and reason.

There are only two things that make the case of Jon Venables different to any of the situations I worked with. The first is the severity of the incident, the second  is the level of media influence on how they were dealt with.

What happened in the James Bulger case, was horrific. The brutality of the tragedy shocked everyone.

This was a tragedy with many many victims. Shocking it may have been. Evidence that if we have a society where children can grow up like this, it can have horrific consequences. The scale of the tragedy should have led us to develop our understanding of how this could have happened, to learn lessons from it. To work to prevent it happening in future.

The problem is that the severity of this tragedy  led us to forget that. It was too difficult for us as a society, to look at this case  in the context of what we know to be true. Too hard to look at what we know about the way children develop, and say we have to understand it. Too hard to admit that yes, in some circumstances, that this can happen-and it did.

Instead, it was preferable to believe that these children were ‘evil’. Somehow the idea that these children were posessed by a force that was out of normal reasoning, is preferable to telling the truth.

Not only do the public want this problem taken from their view, they want to believe that abusing these children further, wreaking vengeance-won’t actually entrench the behaviours these young people display.

When we talk about concepts of ‘evil’, we avoid having to acknowledge unpalatable truths. James Bulger was not the only victim in this tragedy. THere were many.

Because we as a society can not bring ourselves to apply reason to this horrific case, we tried two children, who records show had absolutely no understanding of the process they were accountable to. Who were both very clearly seriously traumatised by this incident, by the things they had done, by the things(especially in Thompsons case) that had been done to them. We tried two traumatised children, as adults, in an adult courtroom, to satisfy a need to pretend that this tragedy  was beyond our understanding. Yet we knew, even then what would trigger this behaviour, how it could come about. These children had mobs baying for their blood.

As a social worker,  if your job is to try and manage the risk brought about by the cycle of abuse, you don’t have the luxury of looking away. You can’t pretend that ‘evil’ is part of the equation.

I have worked with young men who have frightened me. Where I have been fairly sure that they will probably go on to hurt themselves, or others. I have worked in these situations, not with a desire for some kind of vengeance- but with the aim of  reducing that risk. Knowing that it is also likely be me arguing they should lose their liberty.

One of the things that makes working in Childrens Services so difficult, is the refusal of our society to actually sit and consider what child abuse does. What it costs our society, and how best to manage it. We bask in concepts of good and evil, because it is easier than taking the time to figure out not only why tragedies like the murder of James Bulger occur, but what can be done to prevent them.

As tabloid hacks encourage us to compete to see who can come up with the most gruesome sentiments about Jon Venables, they undermine the very people who don’t have the luxury of wallowing in blood lust. The people left to pick up the pieces.

And when you are the person who is sat there, having to make the difficult decisions, it is quite hard knowing that you doing what is right, and least harmful- could result in your name being underneath the headline, with the hacks chasing for your blood. Especially when you are doing that job with inadequate resources, because society would like these ‘feral children’ to not exist.

I don’t know the details of Jon Venables current arrest. I know the media frenzy surrounding it has made acting appropriately impossible.

You can have justice and rehabilitation, and work to understand and manage risk, or you can have revenge. You can’t have both.



  1. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant

  2. Thank you for writing this. Watching the press in full spate is so depressing.

  3. Well written,thanks for sharing it… I cant bear to read about all this stuff in the press, and never know details as a result, its too heart breaking!

  4. Reason. Evidence. Experience. Balance. Understanding. So rare. So needed.

  5. […] Jon Venables. « Deeplyflawedbuttrying's Blog […]

  6. Thank you. I too used to work as a social worker – the most difficult job I’ve ever had and incredibly demanding.
    We don’t discuss what goes wrong in our parenting and the effects it has anything like enough.
    So much of the Government’s agenda seems to be dictated by the tabloids – whether Labour or Conservative. And they want to stir up fears and anger to increase their sales.
    Someone said last week, the best way for children’s lives to be saved would be to reduce the speed limit to 20mph on residential streets. How many petitions have they had about that?

  7. Thank you for putting this so elequently. You have given me a lot to think about. Very thought provoking and very, very sad

  8. Thank you for posting this. I have avoided as much as possible any news coverage about Venables, because I think it will be governed by bloodlust. What you have expressed has confirmed what i have feared about the media coverage.

  9. Thanks for writing this. It highlights the fact there is a different perspective to look at it from that people don’t always consider.

    The media never made a big deal about their upbringing – they were more concerned with blaming horror films for poisoning their minds.

    You’d have to be pretty heartless to hear about an abused child and not feel sorry for them. But people don’t consider the affect this can have on them in later life.

  10. Thank you for this. I live near to Liverpool and it’s always been terrifying seeing the vigilante attitude that people assumed in regards to the Bulger case, and the way people have always been so blinkered to the ‘bigger picture’. There was something admittedly chilling about children committing such an act – it is, afterall, something that we could never possibly expect – but people were, and still are, so preoccupied with branding them ‘evil’ that they never once stop to consider the fact that they were CHILDREN, who couldn’t possibly have had any real concept of what they were doing, or of the reality of the situation. Could ten-year-olds even have been able to grasp the finality of what was happening? It seems perfectly clear that they didn’t. What’s worse, meanwhile, is that we’re forever hearing news of poor, innocent children who endure terrible and prolonged suffering at the hands of ADULTS – that is to say fully-grown women and men who are completely conscious of their own actions but who go on to commit unthinkable acts of cruelty and torture with chilling intent. Just recently there was the case of the poor girl starved to death at the hands of her mother and stepfather, for instance. Yet those stories get a few day’s worth of press-time – in which the social services are generally blamed – and everybody moves on. Those adults are never branded evil with anywhere near the vitriol that Thompson and Venables have been. Nobody makes malicious facebook groups about wanting to track those adults down and kill them. Yet – 15+ years later and there are still thousands of people hellbent on painting Venables and Thompson as evil incarnate and doing everything in their power to locate them and even possibly kill them. WHY? WHY are ten-year-old children deemed to be evil itself while adults do appalling things only to have them promptly glossed over or forgotten? This combination of total ignorance and mob mentality is absolutely terrifying, and shame on the media for constantly exacerbating the situation and barely ever putting forth a voice of reason.

    • What I was trying to get across was that we love the kids in the NSPCC ads, the ones with the big eyes. The cute ones. The minute kids start to exhibit the consequences of that abuse- we blame them= and we want them treated much more harshly than adults.

      I look at this, and I try to figure out why. Especially as the consequences are so harmful. And I think we just can’t be honest about children, the effects of parenting, and it is terrifying to be honest about the darker side of human nature. None of this helps us protect ourselves as a society, and the effect is that children are demonised.

      Which is just horrible. Am sorry, but it is.

      Baby P was loved the nation because he died. Noone gave a fuck when he was alive,a nd the minute he started to display the tendencies that result from the kind of horrific abuse he suffered, he would have been demonised. Doesn’t matter what age- 7-8-9. We would happily do that to a child, because it is easier than asking the questions that need to be asked.

      In the meantime we threaten to lynch social workers, we beat up paediatricians, and we beat people with similar names. We revel in violence and gruesomeness, as a way of competing to show how outraged we are. And in doing so remove any chance of protecting kids like James Bulger, Jon Venables, Baby P, Victoria Climbie.

      If you choose to put your money where your mouth is, and try to work in this field- you run the constant risk of pitchfork weilding morons- looking for your scalp- for even daring to try and work in a collapsing child protection system.

      I did expect the pitchfork weilders to be out in force, but no comments so far. Which says something about how people actually feel abnout this = when not being dictated to by tabloids.

  11. What a well written article. I could almost say enjoyable to read but of course, with the content being what it is, enjoyment doesn’t really come in it. It was certainly thought provoking and, although it reflects my own thoughts on young offenders, it gave me further insight into a subject I would like to understand more of. Thanks for writing it.

  12. Excellent article.

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  14. Thank you for this wonderfully thoughtful and true post. I totally agree with you.

  15. We have tried this softly softly approach to crime,again it hasn’t worked we need to go back to zero tolerance to protect the innocent victims of these vicious crimes. The law abideing public need to feel that their families are protected if not it will eventually create anarchy. Stop pandering to these useless thugs and bring back capital punishment for our childrens sake and make a decent place for the genuine people to live in before we all become criminals to survive by taking the law into our own hands. God bless Jamie Bulger our law has failed you.

    • Silly me, I was under the impression that I had been working with an established body of evidence, all these years, that not only does it work, but it is the ONLY approach that works when dealing with children with these behaviour patterns. Obviously, I was mistaken. As were the rest of the people who deal with this, day in day out. I had better let the social services departments, who deal with kids who behave in a way which tallies with that evidence, and who are basing plans for children, on that evidence- that actually their clients should be killed. When would you like us to start killing those children? Aged 3? 4? 8? 10?

      What level of abuse is a child expected to take, without showing the behaviour patterns which naturally result from that abuse? What level of trauma is a child expected to have undergone, before exempt them from being killed.

      And who is doing this killing? How much would you like the state to pay for the post of child killer? 21k a year?

      Can you show me the evidence that says that trying two traumatised ten year olds, in an adult court, to a baying ignorant mob, and spending teh rest of their lives taking out vengeance on them, while we work in a way that the tabloids dictate, is effective?

      Also, have you ever considered the irony, in being so outraged by a childs death, that you call for the death of two children. I presume you meant capital punishment, and not corporal.

      You are right- our society did fail James Bulger, and Robert THompson, and Jon Venables, and everyone connected with those children. It is just easier to demand that children be killed, than address why and how.

  16. I am gobsmacked by this very well written and extremely thought provoking article. Have been daily surrounded by ignorant, ill educated people at work who think the only answer is to ‘lynch’. Am so very glad I have read this. It is a terribly sad, awful world we live in but with an article like this I realise there are people out there who genuinely want to help these very desperate, disturbed and unhappy children. Well done you, I applaud you.

  17. Fantastic post, been trying to analyse my own feelings but another media frenzy/witch hunt is making it so hard to think about. Have been shocked by the distribution of suposed real details of his new name and crime, who’s right it is it to call anyone out without knowing details but like you say society has to do something to make themselves feel better and treating him as evil and below the justice system does it for us!

  18. Thank you for writing this post… not enough people try to see beyond the media frenzy. I was a social worker too, then a Probation Officer so understand fully the issues you raise here.
    I have always been a believer that serious young offenders such as Venables and Thompson are created by the adults in their lives and were not ‘born bad’. When I hear about young people committing such serious offences I always ask myself ‘where did they learn such behaviour…?’ I wish more media people would consider the same question. That so much brutal and deviant behaviour directed towards children goes on behind closed doors is worrying in itself, but the vicious cycle that controls generations of children is ignored. Once the child victim starts acting out, whether through offending, drugs, violence, sexualised behaviour, etc. society turns its collective back and begins to punish the symptoms instead of treating the causes. Until this changes, sadly we will continue to see more children grow up to become the next Venables or Baby P.

  19. I wish I could fucking print this article, and it’s comments, and send them to every media outlet, including bloody Facebook, and get them to analyse evidence, experience and real understanding. We, all of us, society, live in a world that creates these ‘evil’ ones. But the answers, to the horrible questions of ‘why’, mean more will die. More will suffer. All because we are too ignorant to look for ‘solutions’ instead of answers.

    • I think we are just afraid to look at what human beings do, if they are treated a certain way- because it means that we have to look at doing something about it. Kids who abuse, are a secret we don’t talk about.
      Thanks for your lovely comments btw!

      • ‘Kids who abuse, are a secret we don’t talk about.’…because it just doesn’t fit the narrative.

        Good and evil. Black and white. Right and wrong. Innocent angels when they fit in the boxes society, families and corporations put them in – evil devils, yobbish thugs, chavs, slags, labels, labels, fucking labels otherwise.

        While we continue to be afraid, while it’s brushed under the carpet, or ignored, or denied, or twisted. It continues. It’s so frustrating, and that is the biggest understatement of ever. I’m gonna read it the article again to reduce the frustration.

      • It basically makes operating as a social worker in this country impossible. We want to believe it is black and white, when social workers are to blame for kids dying- yet systematically undermine our child protection, probation, services. We want to pretend it doesn’t exist, and so we construct good and evil- so taht every time something happens which shocks us, we can have a scalp hunt, and shout about how outrageous it is- and blame the very services we undermine for not being effective.

        THere has been no request that chidlrens services are to be ringfenced, from budget cuts- not in the way we have seen with the NHS. Even though several local authorities childrens services have been declared unfit for purpose. THen we blame the children themselves for the consequences of what they have had done to them. Awful.

  20. an excellent article.
    I wish too we could make the ‘foamers’ on Facebook read this. Unfortunately, from the state of the spelling and language and grammar demonstrated there, the majority would be incapable of reading/understanding it.

    Ps… whispers – bask is bask in the sun, basque is like a corset 🙂 – made me smile.

    • Over a thousand people have seen that, and noone mentioned!haha Am a moron.

      THanks for your comments, and thanks for readingthough!

  21. I was 14 when this happened, I live a mile or so from the shopping centre James was taken from. I sat and watched the news coverage of grown adults banging on the vans and shaking my head at the irony of them demanding that child murder should be punished with – child murder. I kept my thoughts to myself, I thought there must be something wrong with me for seeing the whole case as a huge tragedy for all involved when the only socially acceptable opinion was that they were evil and should be either sentenced to death or spend the rest of their lives rotting in a cell.

    But I kept thinking “they’re only ten” and it frightened me that I lived in a society that would disregard the reasons it happened and say “whatever abuse you suffered doesn’t matter anymore, not after what you did!” well I think it does matter. Silly headlnes like “city mourns!” – no it didn’t, James’ family and friends mourned him, the rest of the mob were just self righteously beating their chests and dare I say almost loving the drama.

    There was NO option but to try and rehabilitate them, they were children. Those who bay for blood and to this day want to see them hanged I ask them – would you be capable of putting a noose around a child’s neck? would you have danced in the streets to celebrate the death of two children? if the answer is yes then I find hypothetical person far, far more ‘evil’ than either Thompson or Venables.

    I picked up a tabloid for the first time in months the other day. The press are gleefully whipping up more hatred over these two, sensationalising the most ridiculous of things such as Venable being ‘known to drink lethal cocktails’ then naming the drink, if it wasn’t so depressing I think I’d have laughed out loud when said lethal cocktail turned out to be no more potent than you average beer.

    Incidentally an adult murdered a young girl recently, where is the outrage? the hatred? the facebook groups demaning his head on a plate? oh yeah, there is none. Not anything near as sensational as ten year olds who killed.

    Yup, let’s demand the death of children whilst shrugging off the fact that adults murder each and every day too.

    Oh the irony…

  22. Thank you for this post, which I have retweeted and recommended to various friends. It’s by far the most sensible thing I’ve yet read on the issue.

  23. This has to be the first logical article ive read about this case, of all the papers and online resources ive trawled! I find it shocking that more political figures dealing with this case and the media pressure have and are still failing to bring some humanity to it as you have so perfectly put here!
    After watching BBC Question Time tonight and reading your tweets im still dumbfounded by the sheer ignorance and inability of many people to think/see further than the end of their own nose! As a child who slipped through this failing system and suffered at the hands of my abusive parents i can totally understand and relate to everything you’ve written, and although i never behaved as extreme as Jon Venebles the confusion one feels as a child is immense and unexplainable, which drives one to either hurt someone else or themselves! We only need to look at the amount of children-young adults and the figures of self harm and eating disorders to see the extent of the underlying generation of “potential murderers” that just stew harming themselves for years! to me its the same thing!
    My friends also totally understand and we remind each other of the reality’s and depth of which things go sometimes and provide the reality checks we all need! its seems there is no one giving those reality checks to the majority of those ignorant people with whom the penny of life has not dropped, and often will never drop! And my biggest fear is that the very people who run this country are almost afraid to put the public straight! if they cant do that, then how do we expect them to provide the reform of public services such as social services that we and all the children and vulnerable people so desperately need!? Its not looking very hopeful…

    I look forward to reading more of your writing and have added you to my blog roll! 🙂 X

  24. Thank you so much for writing this – an oasis of sanity in a desert of the spiteful and stupid. It’s been extraordinary to watch grown adults try to justify their own sadistic ideas about what they’d do to Venables and Thompson (and they’re not fantasising about killing 27-year-old men, that’s for sure, but their ten-year-old personas).

    What is incredibly damaging about the popular press in Britain is not simply the glee with which it reports crime. It’s also the way that it quickly grows bored with reporting something. The rehabilitation of a criminal, and in fact, the recovery of a criminal’s victim too, takes time. A long time. Far longer than the attention span of your average hack and the average reader. Much easier to feel sorry for the victim for ever, occasionally giving them airtime to relive their unwanted moment of celebrity. And much easier to decide that there is no way back for the perpetrator of a crime.

    I shall recommend this article and your blog in general to everyone I know.

  25. Very eloquent. It’s a great pity for us that you are not still a social worker.

  26. A very good write up with some very valid points. However how many times have ten year old kids who have been abused such as Thompson , decided that they would kill someone? As human beings we have a natural instinct in to what is right and wrong, however deciding to follow your instincts is different and this is where these 2 kids differ. If you hear the account from the detective who took this case on and actually dealt with venables and Thompson then your view may be slightly different – or not. What I will say is that no one knows the answer and these are all just views that you either agree with or don’t. That is partially why the government don’t really know what to do. Whatever does happen, there will always be people who object. That is what makes us all unique. Just as venables and Thompson are unique.

    • The consequences of children abusing children are often horrific. Having consequences for the children who have been hurt-which will last a lifetime, or yes- in some cases- children are responsible for other childrens death. THe families of those children, as angry as Denise Fergus, and the consequences no less heartbreaking.

      These are not easy issues, or simplistic.
      The consequences often horrific because tehy are children.
      The way you ‘feel’ about a situation, doesn’t change the way you deal with it. It doesn’t change the evidence that says that one way of dealng with it will be effective. Shock, or personal revulsion- doesn’t change what will be effective, and what won’t, and the luxury of pretending that it is outside your comprehension does not change your job.
      And the fact that they are children does not change.

      How you would ‘feel’ – is irrelevant in all that.

      How people ‘feel’ in a case, does not allow people to disregard what they know- that is a luxury only available to those who have to do nothing but show their disgust.

      • This debate could go on forever. I do not agree with revenge on venables or Thompson as this solves nothing. It’s just a shame that this has all been brought up again resurfacing memories for James bulgers family in particular. The problem though is that venables has apparantly been revealing his identity which mean people know who is. I read a document the other day which gives opinions from about ten different people. Quite a long one but you see things from all perspectives. I will try to find it and give you the link if you like?

      • The problem is, that the only thing that makes it a debate is the shock the incident caused. THe principles which should guide our treatment of it- don’t change because the consequences were more severe. We are not supposed to do that with children- and we don’t- the ‘debate’ is a red herring on a massive, and dangerous scale. Would be interested in the link though=thanks.

  27. The one thing about all this naval gazing that has been forgotten is the fact Venables has brought this on himself.
    We as a society forgave him and gave him the benefit of a new identity with access to ways to improve himeself. Many good kids never get opportunities to improve their lives and drudgingly just get on with the cards they have been dealt..
    So stop beating yourself up about it.

    • A 10 year old? Brought an entire nation of adults, projecting their most violent fantasies, a trial in an adult courtroom-where the home secretary intervened, and gave a penalty unheard of for a child-onto himself- yet a 12 year old is not considered old enough to consider the consequences of having sex. Yup.
      And if by ‘navel gazing’- I am afraid that working from evidence, and reason- doesn’t end, because you ask it to.
      It is, luckily for us, what guides work with the ‘good kids’ you are talking about. It also means that the kids that are human, don’t get rejected as soon as they don’t fit the ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ that people like you use, so that you can look away, and never have to weigh your little heads down, with actually considering what you are saying.

      Perhaps if you considerered a little more ‘nazel gazing’- or at least thought.
      Saying that, if you think a nation ‘forgave’ Jon Venables- I don’t know where you are looking. And maybe you should ask the question, of whether it was any of the ‘nations’ business- given the nation have made any chance of dealing with Venables properly-whatever your perspective- impossible.

      • Well what exactly was society suppose to do with two? Just pat them on the head and say “boys will be boys”. Would that have been the answer?

        You say society is responsible, which is is an insult to the millions of kids brought up in terrible conditions
        in this country (past and present) but have never resorted to cruelty or murder.

        Jamie Bulger is dead, he got no say in the matter on his fate.They had placed him on the railway line to wipe him out
        completely and any evidence,are you saying they did not know what they were doing because of their age? Surely society needs to speak for him?

      • Did I say anything about patting them on the head? Is there any more evidence that ‘patting them on the head’ is effective, than there is that having an entire nation baying for their blood?
        We have a body of evidence on behaviour like that-with research showing what is effective and what isn’t.

        Why do people like you decide that if anyone doesn’t want to use this as an opportunity for vengeance they are being disrespectful to Denise Bulger? Read the post again.
        At what age would you prefer we started stringing children up? 3? 5? 7?

        James Bulger is dead- yes- we are aware of that=the circumstances of his death are shocking, and as such should trigger us, as rational adults, to examine the issue his death raises= using evidence and reason.

        What strikes me as odd- is that this child is dead, and a grown adults think that exploiting his death to project venomous fantasies- is somehow evidence of the moral high ground.

        And evidence be ignored- because so that they can do this? Denis Bulger’s desire for vengeance I understand- yours I don’t. Do you often use crimes against children, in this way?

        Explain to me how the death of one child is somehow undone by ignoring everything we know about how this could have happened? How we learn lessons from these crimes, by crying for blood? Sorry- that is the realm of people like you- people who have the luxury of doing that. Thanks.

      • I think the newspapper headlines, facebook groups, and reaction on every radio and television phone in- says otherwise. As does the fact that these children were tried in a court they didn’t understand, and normal rules of sentencing were abandoned, when the Home Secretary intervened(later had to be overturned by ECHR), and the fact that prison service have made statements that they have been left almost unable to deal with this situation- because of the media- all say that this isn’t a notion ‘pushed’ by ‘people like me’,. Statement of demonstrable fact.

        I was shocked by their behaviour, as everyone was- I wasn’t puzzled-mainly because there is a very solid body of evidence, which their entire behaviour pattern fit with.

        And I haven’t suggested that they shouldn’t have been kept away from other children, or anything of the sort. I am suggesting that the assault should be dealt with in the context of what we actually know about what can cause this type of behaviours- the way that every other case of children hurting other children, is. With the appropriate intervention being decided by the facts of the case-rather than the need for the public to have a pantomime where two kids- who again demonstrably didn’t understand the process(a very important part of having a fair trial)-dragged through the circus of their trial- to satisy the public.

        Citing an individual case like Robert Black- is irrelevant. We have evidence to show what is effective in dealing with cases like this- and evidence to show what isn’t. I have never said anything about Jon Venables ”not being dealt with’- I have said that that intervention should have been guided by evidence and not tabloid reactionism. And Robert Black was not a child, in a time where we had ample evidence of how to intervene in cases like this- and how not to.

        There is a difference between justice and rehabilitation, and revenge. And the fact that you decided that somehow I was being unfair to the mother of James Bulger for even suggesting that- suggests that you are in fact seeking the latter.

        I don’t know how I would have dealt with Jon Venables, or Robert THompson.All cases are different- I would have followed set guidelines- I would have gathered all professionals involved, made a thorough assessment of the case, their histories, them- and then let that assessment guide what I would have done. I certainly would not have subjected two children to interviews which were about the police showing disgust at what they didn, rather than getting to the truth of the situation. I would have ensured that they got a fair trial, and I wouldn’t have been allowing tabloid speculation to guide the plan- as Micheal Howard did. I certainly would not have sentenced them to an indefinite sentence which offered no chance to do anything like this, I wouldn’t have had a Judge decide that actually everything we know is irrelevant and use concepts like ‘evil’ to decide that they should be exempt from basic justice.

        When I have dealt with children who have hurt other children, with horrific consequences- I have never considered using rational thought, as ‘navel gazing’- or working to manage risk in an effective way- as a betrayal of anyone.

      • Sorry, I accidentally typed over your response- WordPress comments are set up in a strange way. Response is in your last comment.

  28. Lets stay on the respectful track.
    I have viewed many comments on the net about this issue. Some of them horrify me, the abuse, the language the hate is mind numbing.

    This situation is blown so far out of proportion, disgustingly so, that I can barely comprehend it.

    The torture of children by children has gone on since time began…usually trained by the military I might add. 8 and 9 years old boys decorated under NAZI rule was horrendous…as they beat babies to death with hammers. Revolting isn’t it.

    Why is it in war times that the prisoners are released to fight…at this time as I write the saddest words leave my mouth…72 wars are going on as we speak…a child dies every 29 seconds in this world ! Do all of those little angels get this sort of coverage….I don’t think so people ?

    Some of my associates assert that Psychopaths are born “not made”…this may be arguable in the case of Thompson, but I would argue very strongly that this is not the case with Venables.

    Thompson, if he offends again will “never” be caught “again”. it will be a near miracle if he is…either way.

    I have found some understanding in this case that I would dearly want to share with you. However, I am not so forward as to speak without invitation.

    I have worked child protection for 28 years, specialized in Trauma :prevention treatment and recovery.
    I have trained over 5 thousand kids prep to yr 12 plus families and adults in protective behaviours.

    I would be honoured to put forward to you…a different way of thinking about this, in a humble and very respectful manner…a possible answer maybe…where punishment/discipline….and compassion can meet.

    It is a psychoanalytic interpretation I admit. But it is at the end of the day….easy to read, easy to understand.

    Hope someone wants to hear from me.

    Yours respectfully

    B.A.,Grad dip.

  29. attention respectfully :march 17th 9.07am.

    “people are not disturbed by events, but the views they take of them”

    Philosopher of the Enlightenment

  30. angels rush in, where fools fear to tread !

  31. The facts remain there were TWO boys who murdered JAMIE BULGER..Two boys,not one..Why do they get to live a life with a new identity,as if consequences for them should not be applied?How is this FAIR AND JUST?
    And obviously with recent events shouldn’t this be REVIEWED?
    Instead of taking the approach of giving the offender a hot cup of cocoa..Maybe REAL LIFE CONSEQUENCES SHOULD BE APPLIED?
    And please..before the inappropriate ‘let’s support the peado replies start rolling in,PLEASE DON’T..Be a human being and think of the family of that said victim..How do they feel when this person is allowed to live in a PAID FOR COUNCIL FLAT,alongside CHILDREN AND VUNERABLE SINGLE MOTHERS WHO ARE LONELY?
    is mise le meas,
    kind regards..:o)

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