Letter: Abused children

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I have read your correspondence on reporting child abuse (letters, 13 January) and felt that the perspective of an adult survivor of violent abuse might be of interest.

During my childhood, my mother was unable to control her vicious temper and I was her habitual target. The neighbours must have heard the screams, and they must have seen the bruises but they did nothing. Doubtless it was none of their business. Inaction of this kind gives abusers permission to carry on. If everyone knows a child is being beaten but does nothing, the child gets the message that there is no hope, no escape from years of misery.

I sympathise with the plight of Mr McCourt, who has lost his children, but I sympathise more with the child who Ms Alibhai-Brown knows is being abused, but no one has bothered to pick up the phone to help.