Mum calls for training in fight against sex abuse of children

Marilyn Hawes

Marilyn Hawes - Credit: Archant

A MOTHER of four whose children were sexually abused is calling on the Government to introduce compulsory training for parents and carers so they can look out for signs of child grooming.

Marilyn Hawes (pictured), founder of Enough Abuse, established the national charity in 2004 after her three boys were sexually groomed by their headteacher. He was later convicted in 2003 and served 15 months in jail.

The 60-year-old, who lives in Willian, offers training courses to parents and professionals all over the UK and says more needs to be done in terms of training to make people aware of the signs.

She told the Comet: “My boys were groomed right under my nose and I had no idea. He was my best friend and a colleague who I had known for a very long time and had trusted, but I didn’t see the signs, I didn’t know what I should have been looking out for.”

Now, after nine years of experience in delivering courses, the former music teacher wants there to be mandatory training sessions in health centres, children’s centres and in antenatal classes for all parents.

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“I don’t want other parents to be me, it affects the whole family,” she said.

“And even to this day, 10 years on, I am looking over my shoulder because it is something that never goes away.

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“I wish I had known what to look out for when it was going on. People can be made aware of things to look out for rather than pushing it all under the carpet.”

She added: “It is the responsibility of parents, teachers and those with a duty of care to make sure children are properly trained to protect themselves from abuse. And it is every parent and carer’s right to have as much information as possible on hand and readily available.”

Phil Picton, chairman of Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, claimed there were strategies in place for dealing with child sexual exploitation and said it was vital people were equipped with knowledge to spot and stop exploitation.

And Richard Roberts, lead member for children services, said Herts County Council ran training in schools.

He added: “It is everybody’s duty to protect Hertfordshire’s young people from this form of child abuse and we take our responsibilities in this area extremely seriously.”

For more information on Enough Abuse contact Marilyn on 01462 682562 or visit

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