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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse BEHIND the Headlines, 29 April 2003
This review is from: Innocence Betrayed: Paedophilia, the Media and Society (Paperback)
It is difficult to try and imagine a figure in society more reviled that the paedophile, and the moral panic over paedophilia limits our ability to put the issue into perspective. Wilson and Silverman open their book with a fascinating and illuminating 'history' of sex offending, comparing concerns over paedophilia with the garroting 'panic' of 1860s London.
A large proportion of the book has developed from extensive research and interviews with offenders and victims, and with therapists, prison governors and other professionals working with paedophiles.
The interviews provide some of the most interesting parts of this book. A group of mothers from the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth - scene of the biggest paedophile riots in 2000 - talk at length about their experiences both as victims but also as concerned parents. Former sex offenders talk candidly about their offending and what 'made' them, or 'led' them to offend. The book includes an interview with the managing editor of the News of the World, the detail of which is reason enough to read this book. The book also gives a glimpse into the world of government dealing with the media, and examines in detail the pitfalls in calls for 'community notification' and 'naming and shaming'.
Perhaps the most important chapter of this book is the penultimate one, in which the authors detail 'Circles of Support', a community based programme designed to safely aid the paedophile's resettlement into the community after release from prison; a programme somewhat reliant on community awareness but also community tolerance. The chapter provides a clue as to the direction in which we should be heading, rather than continuing on the destructive course currently being mapped out.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable to my dissertation!, 6 Mar. 2006
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This review is from: Innocence Betrayed: Paedophilia, the Media and Society (Paperback)
In the thick of my final year at Uni, with no going back on my decision to write a dissertation for Criminology, I despaired of ever getting that 2:1. Having desperately clawed for inspiration and finally settled on the topic of paedophiles and the current media/public reaction to this crime, I was immensely relieved to discover that this book existed.
It was indeed the answer to my prayers: covering all aspects of society's understanding of paedophilia, including quotes and comments from sex offenders themselves, Wilson and Silverman have produced a comprehensive, intelligent critique on this very sensitive subject. They bravely challenge common viewpoints on the 'hideous monster', enlighten readers with historical information and attitudes, and back up their words with factual evidence. Most importantly, they keep a steady eye on the serious nature of the crime itself, never reducing their criticisms to facetious sarcasm (as could so easily be done when reviewing tabloid behaviour). They are very open about the abuse they themselves have received for daring to speak out against the hysteria and over-sentimentality of many media and public figures, but justify their positions with strong, well-considered arguments.
Many academic texts try to impress (or distress) their readers with the use of obscure words or long, incomprehensible sentences, but Silverman and Wilson have ably conveyed their message without pomp and ceremony. Consequently, this book can be read and enjoyed by those other than students of social science. In fact, I would thoroughly recommend it to parents because above all, Innocence Betrayed says what very few people dare to: there is very little threat from 'stranger danger'.
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Innocence Betrayed: Paedophilia, the Media and Society
Innocence Betrayed: Paedophilia, the Media and Society by Jon Silverman (Paperback - 14 Oct. 2002)
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