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Cruelty to children must stop. FULL STOP.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Weston House, 42 Curtain Road, London. EC2A 3NH
Web site: www.nspcc.org.uk
First of all: an apology.
I know you didn't ask me to write to you. Yet, here I am - writing to you anyway - expecting you to give up a few moments of your time. You're probably just thinking, "oh dear, not another charity asking me for money."
If that's the case then I'm sorry.
But the fact of the matter is that I need to write to you. I need to write to you on behalf of thousands of children who have nobody else to speak up for them - children who need someone to turn to. And, yes, it's about money. I'm writing to ask you if you'll consider making a regular gift to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
But, to he honest, I'm never sure how I'm supposed to do this. I mean, what works for some people doesn't work for others. And the subject is so utterly appalling that for me to do it justice in a mere letter is almost unthinkable.
At first I thought I'd try and shock you.
Often, the most obvious way of expressing the grim realities to a reader like yourself as to shock you. It's a simple enough approach. I'm sure you'll agree. After all, the NSPCC have files upon files of stories so sad that I'd be surprised if anyone could remain unaffected by them. But what am I supposed to say?
I've just finished reading a story about Phillip: a 4-year-old boy who experienced months of brutal treatment at the hands of his mother's boyfriend. Details of his story are set out in "Out of Sight", a report which we have issued as part of our FULL STOP campaign.
The exact details of Phillip's abuse remain unclear, but the 100 or so injuries that
covered his body - including a perforated eardrum, swollen testicles and numerous cigarette burns - stood as a testament to his agony.
He eventually died from blood poisoning as a result ot being violently hit in the stomach.
What am I supposed to add to this? What could possibly be more shocking than these facts alone?
Or Jamie-Leigh? What do I say about her? This baby girl - only 9 weeks old - died from head injuries suffered from her father throwing her against a wall.
He did this because her crying had disturbed him while he played a computer game.
If these events can be made more appalling, then it's only by the fact that they're not isolated. Far from it. Every year we hear of more cases. More stories of children and young people who have been subjected to unimaginable suffering and isolation. And the only way we're ever going to stop it happening is if people like you feel moved enough to support with a regular monthly gift.
It will help give voung people someone to turn to.
Then I thought I'd give you some statistics
But the truth is sometimes hard to take in. Yes, you might want to help, but that doesn't mean you need to hear the stories or see the photographs to be spurred into action.
So I thought perhaps some statistics might be more appropriate. For example, did you know that a quarter of rape victims are under 16?
Or that each week at least one child in England and Wales dies from cruelty?
But, again, I have reservations. Statistics show us the scale of the problem. But that doesn't necessarily mean you'll consider them a good enough reason to donate any money. Surely if just one child was living with the fear and isolation of abuse then £2 a month would be a price worth paying to prevent it.
But that's just my opinion. What you believe could be entirely different.
Then it struck me
The other day, as I was thinking about what I was going to say to you, I came across two facts that summed up exactly why I was writing to you in the first place.
The first one was that, last year, the 24-hour NSPCC Child Protection Helpline received 121 calls. Which is a terribly high number of calls to take, but which indicates both the urgency of the problem and the demand for the services we fund.
And the second was that, last year, the NSPCC spent £2.3 million on projects to make England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel islands a safer place for young people to live. This, by anyone's standards, is a serious amount of money to spend. But, again, it reflects the demand for our work more than anything else.
So what does this all mean?
Well, it's quite simple - we have much more work to do. Child abuse is a huge problem in our society, and we have to raise enongh funds to make sure that it stops happening altogether.
And we do this by writing to people like you, hoping that you'll be willing to help us by making a regular gift.
And while your £2 a month may not seem all that much, it can achieve more than you might imagine. First of all, it will help fund services like the 24-hour NSPCC Child Protection Helpline, which anyone can call if they fear a child is at risk - and the more money we receive, the more children we can help.
And, secondly, because your gift is a regular one, you can help us plan ahead, safe in the knowledge that we have some money coming in every month. And it's this foresight that helps us maintain our numerous services - such as our therapeutic centres, which helped 2,428 children and their families last year alone - and run our campaigns to stop child abuse.
So when I ask myself how I should write to you; how I'm gonig to persuade you to consider giving £2 a month to the NSPCC. I run evervthnig through my head - the tragic stories, the shocking details, the statistics - and it frustrates me. Given the scope of the problem and the work were trying to do, this letter should really only have to consist of one sentence:
Please will you give £2 a month or whatever you can spare to help the NSPCC prevent these terrible things from happening?
And, if that doesn't work, then I really don't know what will.
Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I hope we can count on your support to help ensure that children always have someone to turn to.
Appeals Manager. NSPCC
PS: If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the Gift Aid box on your form. This way
for every £1 you give, 28p more can go to protecting children at risk, at no extra cost.
Already a supporter?
Unfortunately, it has not been possible for us to check whether you already support the NSPCC. This is because the mailing is not personally addressed and is delivered to every house in your area to save costs. Please be assured that we are very grateful for anything you already do to protect children. This appeal is aimed at potential new supporters who will help us end cruelty to children. If you think a friend might be interested in helping protect children too, please pass this letter on. Thank you.
If you have a query about this letter or would like to make a donation, please call us on 08700 606 928.
Please only call the NSPCC 24-hour Child Protection Helpline if you have concerns about a child. Children and young people can call the free 24-hour ChildLine service confidentially.
DON'T KEEP IT T0 YOURSELF: The NSPCC child Protection Helpline is a free, 24-hour service which provides counselling, information and advice to anyone concerned about a child at risk of abuse. Please call us on 0808 800 5000 Textphone: 0800 056 0566 ChildLine is the NSPCC's free 24-hour service which provides counselling, information and advice to any child or young person in danger or distress.
MESSAGE FROM THE NSPCC: All information featured in these cases is true, and taken from 'Out of Sight - An NSPCC report on child deaths from abuse 1973-2000'. The NSPCC protects children in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel islands.
NSPCC - CHILO PROTECTION HELPLINE
0808 800 5000
Updated September 22, 2007
This file may be downloaded for private and personal use but NO part of it may be published in any form without the prior permission of the author.