Child abuse charity urges journalists to avoid terms 'victims', 'child porn' and 'historic'

A charity representing adults who have suffered child abuse has urged journalists not to call such people victims.

The advice is contained in media guidelines which have been issued by the National Association for People Abused in Childhood.

The advice on language suggests using "survivors" instead of "victims" when talking about child abuse.

It also suggests the term "historic" child abuse should be avoided, as should "child porn", "rent boy" and "prostitute".

NAPAC says: "Many adults who were abused as children prefer to be known as ‘survivors’ rather than ‘victims’ in recognition that they have survived what they have been through, and that they are not permanently stuck in that place of abuse as a ‘victim’."

On use of the term "historic" the charity states: "Rapes are not referred to as historical, nor are child murders or even bank robberies that happened years ago. Survivors may be living with the physical and mental consequences of abuse every day. There is nothing historic about it for them."

On "child pornography", it states: "‘Child pornography’ makes a comparison with adult sexual imagery and almost normalises it. This only serves to diminish what is a gross sexual violation of children – all child abuse images are crime scenes."

It says that "sexually exploited child" is preferable to "rent boy" or "child prostitute" because: "These outdated terms stigmatise and blame children who have been exploited by adults for profit."

NAPAC says as a general point: "Malicious or false allegations are extremely rare and no more likely with child abuse than for any other type of crime whether evidence is presented by children or by adult survivors."

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