That’s why the Savile child-abuse controversy is so significant. Peter Rippon, it is alleged, dropped Newsnight’s exposé on Savile because he considered the bulk of victims were "teenagers, not too young".Convention on the Rights of the Child: "every human being below the age of 18". Underpinning the UN’s assumption is a view of childhood as not just a biological stage but a social construct, extending through the changes of adolescence, a time when the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune can be lethal, as in the case of 15-year-old Claire McAlpine (left).
We cannot lose this momentum, both for Savile’s victims, and for those of child grooming gangs – for example the burgeoning bands of beasts in Rochdale, whose supporters insist that puberty renders a girl a woman.
Nevertheless, authorities still seem to see abuse as a foregone conclusion for a child from a troubled family. Let us hope those authorities see the danger of the outcry against the BBC spreading to all who think it is their right to bully and cajole our children for adult pleasures.