Written by Lea Misan

London Spring was born out of a desire for a restorative space in the context of the historical child abuse within the Catholic Church. The hope that it also provide a reflective space to grapple with the tensions between: the love, trust and care yearned for, needed and indeed demanded by people who have experiences of abuse as well as a religious calling, and the sense of violence, betrayal and lack of protection that both survivors of historical child abuse experience as well as the members of the monastic community. Individual survivors of historical child abuse might be members of the parish, monks or nuns themselves.

In March 2018, as part of the work initiated to look beyond the individual at the institutional aspects of the historical abuse, London Spring held a Symposium for which I wrote an article about a child’s view of love, trust and care to open the conversation about what we can do to safeguard children: to leave firmly in the past the structural elements likely to increase the propensity to violence and child abuse within an institutional setting. Within less than a year, a group of committed people joined together in a Community of Practice Ealing, or COPE, and started meeting fortnightly to both widen and deepen the conversation. We hope to report back on the past year’s work by the end of the year.

Does the way we view children change what next steps we imagine we need to take, in relation to child abuse?
Over the next months, I will be sharing with you 10 children’s views – the perspectives of all kinds of children who somehow need to be represented
the innocent child, the noble/saviour child,
the evil child, the snowballing child,
the out of control child, the miniature adult,
the adult-in-training, the child as commodity,
the victim child and the agentic child.

I hope you will join in and share with us your reflections about the different ways in which children and adults might ‘see’ love, trust and care.