The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is an allegedly non-profit organisation in the UK whose stated function is to clamp down on child abuse and is unique amongst child protection charities in that it has a statutory power to investigate and prosecute cases of child abuse within its remit.

I, however, would describe it as an evil-minded cabal of nest-featherers who have a vested interest in keeping people terrified of the phantom abuser in their midst - and on typing that, I'm surprised that the NSPCC hasn't set up a hotline for children fiddled with by ghosts. I shall explain below.

My suspicions about the NSPCC were first awakened by the fact that they never seemed to pass up an opportunity to cheerlead for intrusive and liberticidal measures of large expense and little benefit, such as the Vetting and Barring Scheme which, following the murders in Soham of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, was proposed as a way to try to prevent people who might just abuse children from coming into contact with children as part of their jobs, and which went even further beyond even the enhanced CRB check in this respect, and which tracked not just convictions, cautions, or even charges for abuse-related offences, but also suspicions and even reports on unusual hobbies or activities. The idea that the NSPCC would then be able to charge money setting up a rat line for anyone people thought was a little creepy was unsaid but disturbingly present.

The NSPCC's current slogan is "Cruelty to children must stop. FULL STOP." The first thing I mention about their "Full Stop" campaign is that it's been widely described as a roaring success. Not because it's saved lots of children from abuse (I am not entirely sure it has), but because it made the charity vast pots of cash, and was dreamt up by Saatchi. Yes. That Saatchi. £250 million. Two hundred and fifty million pounds. That's a two, then a five, then seven zeroes. I don't know about you, but I'd love to turn over that much money. Their head honcho takes home an enviable salary as well of six figures. More to the point, the "Full Stop" campaign seemed to be little more than fundraising and "raising awareness" (ugh, whenever I hear someone say they're "raising awareness" I reach for my Luger. As if anyone cannot be unaware of child abuse. Jesus fuck.) rather than actually going and assisting abused children. In 2001-2, of a budget of £82 million, only £36 million was spent on actually assisting abused children. That's less than half. The rest was spent on fundraising, campaigning, and other opportunities for unscrupulous folks to trough at you, the donor's (and taxpayer - according to its own accounts, in 2009-10, the NSPCC received 12.5%, equal to £19 million pounds, of its budget from various emanations of the State) expense. I have no confidence that this has changed ever.

Indeed, the campaigning they spend their money on does smack of a pervasive culture within the organisation that if they did their jobs properly, they'd do themselves out of a job. As well as making continued and mammoth (and depressingly successful) attempts to outlaw all smacking, which I heartily disapprove of (the reason why will be explained elsewhere), they have also been responsible for engendering a culture of suspicion against anyone who has contact with children. As well as the above mentioned Vetting and Barring scheme that they so vociferously supported, they also launched a campaign recently to persuade Government to regulate or take action against music tutors that physically touch a child while correcting their technique. Needless to say, as Josie Appleton of the Manifesto Club pointed out, the only time you find "cello teachers' abuse" on Google was at the time the NSPCC's own website. So they're spending your money on a problem that quite frankly does not exist.

Depressingly, though, this promotion of no-touch policies has dissuaded people from genuinely assisting a child in trouble, Even the redoubtable Esther Rantzen, progenitor of Childline, saw fit to distance herself from all this when she realised that people were now so paranoid of being accused of child abuse or even allowing themselves to be in a position where false allegations can be made against them, which is disturbingly prevalent as genre savvy teenagers realise they can get at teachers or parents or care workers they do not like by making these falsehoods, and quite frankly, I agree entirely that making demonstrably false allegations in this manner should be prosecuted as perverting the course of justice and those found guilty of it should have the book thrown at them. (I know of a criminal solicitor in Manchester named Chris Saltrese who actually built his entire practice on defending people falsely accused of rape or child abuse. He is recommended if you get into this situation). However, as a result of this, anyone who even assists a clearly hurt and upset child in a public place is taking their life into their hands, and I consider the NSPCC should shoulder at least some of the responsibility for this disgraceful state of affairs. Because without their cheerleading that everyone is an abuser until certified safe, and emotional fascism about how if it saves even one child's life, it's worth it, this would not be the case.

And as if that was not enough, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during the Satanic ritual abuse scandals, the NSPCC were heavily involved. They circulated a very widely read pamphlet on so-called "indicators" of such abuse and in doing so gave a veneer of legitimacy to the mountebanks who pushed this hoax, including Lawrence Pazder and Marietta Higgs, who, shockingly, is still in practice in child protection and continues to believe that Satanic ritual abuse is real. There are also people of less renown in UK child protection who also continue to believe this despite it having been discredited since the Broxtowe Files were de-injuncted in 1997. I consider there to be at the very least reason to believe that but for the NSPCC's cheerleading of the Satanic ritual abuse hoax, it would not have been so widespread and fewer families would have been broken up in pursuance of a lie. But still, it must have been worth it because no doubt this got their name into the papers and persuaded the easily fooled to donate to them.

Then there was their veering into incompetence when they misled the Victoria Climbié inquiry in order to cover up their own errors. Once again this smacks of the mentality that if they did their jobs properly they would do themselves out of a job.

And in not doing themselves out of a job, they have had a large hand in creating a culture where everyone is a suspected child molester until certified safe by people like them, who are Just Better and Know Better. And who have the gall to take public money for this fear-mongering, yet when called upon to make iron before the forge and actually protect an abused child, they fail.

And that is why I will not donate to them now, or ever, and urge all others to do likewise. One day, an innocent paediatrician will be lynched, and the NSPCC will be to blame.

(IRON NODER 2011, 25/30)

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