There was an interesting report in the news today, telling the story of a girl aged sixteen, who had been abused twenty years ago by a group of Pakistani men in Leeds, just after she had left care. A worker at Barnardo’s Leeds Leaving Care project, stated that the situation could have been avoided if the “victim had not been party to the antics of a group of young men … having consumed a quantity of alcohol and taken three Valium tablets, the girl was not able to maintain control or respond to the situation”. This report has now been criticised – twenty years later – and a Barnardo’s spokesman (a lady) said “The view that any child is responsible for their own sexual assault is wrong and totally unacceptable”.
Now, there are two things wrong with that statement. The first is that a sixteen-year-old girl is not a child. Many women have been married at that age. The second is that it has been one of the elemental principles of civilisation from time immemorial, that one must be responsible for one’s own actions. We are now being told that anyone under sixteen is not responsible, and, therefore, free to do what they like. This is, I fear, one of the biggest reasons that the behaviour of young people in England is no longer civilised.