78890 words, 326 pages, 317 references and 75 figures later: the ‘book’ is finished!
35043 miles flown, 10 weeks away from home in a project spanning over a year, eight different cities, five different mobile phone SIM cards and one CT scan later, ‘Living on a Railway Line’ is now ready for publication and launch at MediaCityUK on Monday 20 October 2014 at 10:30am. Home to major BBC and ITV departments, the University of Salford and over 80 businesses across the creative and digital sectors, MediaCityUK is recognised as one of the most innovative developments in the UK.
A report that was initially envisaged to be 15000 words long and a maximum of 30 pages has turned into a major new publication looking at the state of the UK’s child protection system and what we can do to prevent further tragedies in society, wherever that might be, to make the communities in which children grow up better and safer places for them to prosper in the future.
The launch of ‘Living on a Railway Line’ coincides with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The report highlights that a quarter of a century later there are still laws, policies and procedures in the UK and internationally which fall way short of properly protecting children.
The report’s title ‘Living on a Railway Line’ comes from my experience in Cambodia, where children and their families are literally living beside train tracks. This dangerous environment, where one is never sure when or from where harm is coming next, is a metaphor for what many people experience world-wide through their exposure to abuse.
It is time to turn the tide of child abuse and exploitation in the UK and overseas. ‘Living on a Railway Line’ is a start, bringing together international lessons and evidence-based recommendations for the UK and overseas.
After an introduction at 10:30am on Monday 20 October 2014 I’ll be launching my report and revealing my Top Ten Recommendations for the UK after which there will be a panel discussion, lunch and an afternoon workshop for attendees to agree on the next steps.
So far over 100 people have confirmed they are attending the launch – invites have gone out from the University far and wide to a whole host of professionals who work with families and children either in the voluntary or state sector, as well as to Members of Parliament and members of the House of Lords.
It is of the utmost importance that we recognise that the majority of child abuse and neglect in the UK occurs within homes, families and communities. The report that will be launched next Monday contains 10 key recommendations for the UK together with 25 associated and enabling recommendations and seven international recommendations. All of these are designed to build strong and healthy communities with children at their hearts.
So, now that the report is finalised, I’ve got just under a week to write my launch presentation… I’d better get to it!