On This Day … 07 January

People (Births)

  • 1946 – Michele Elliott, author, psychologist and founder of child protection charity Kidscape.

Michele Elliott

Michele Irmiter Elliott OBE is an author, psychologist, teacher and the founder and director of child protection charity Kidscape. She has chaired World Health Organisation and Home Office working groups and is a Winston Churchill fellow.

Early Life

Elliott was born on 07 January 1946 to James Irmiter and Ivy (née Dashwood). She graduated from Dixie Hollins High School in 1964. She attended the University of South Florida and the University of Florida, gaining a BA in Science and Education and a Masters’ degree in Psychology. She began working with families and children in 1968 in London.

Work

Elliott worked as a child psychologist at The American School in London, where her husband was a social studies teacher.

Kidscape

Elliott founded Kidscape in 1984 to help children stay safe from sexual abuse and from bullying.

Elliott has been a high-profile figure and Kidscape was named Charity of the Year in 2000. Writing in The Guardian, David Brindle suggested the award was “an undoubted reflection of the vibrancy of Michele Elliott”.

Female Child Sexual Abuse Offenders

Elliott, who had previously written books about male abuse of children, has undertaken pioneering work in investigating and raising awareness of the problem and extent of child sexual abuse committed by women, and the topic of female paedophilia, publishing the book Female Sexual Abuse of Children The Last Taboo in 1992. The book was well received by professionals and survivors’ organisations. Mike Lew described it as “an important and challenging work”, helping “to forge a new understanding of the issues”. Doody’s annual stated it was “an extremely valuable book for all professionals, and it greatly increases the current state of knowledge, or lack of that knowledge, that can have a profound influence on the survivor’s development and recovery”.

Elliott’s work in exposing the issue of child sexual abuse committed by women has also resulted in hostility from feminists. While compiling Female Sexual Abuse of Children, Elliott organised a conference in London concerning sexual abuse by women. After publishing the book, Elliott was subject to a “deluge” of hate mail from feminists.

Awards

In 2008 Elliot was honoured with an OBE by the Queen for services to children. The following year she was named Children and Young People’s Champion. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Post University in 1998 and another honorary doctorate by the University of Birmingham in 2003. She was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 1996. Her book, “Bullies, Cyberbullies and Frenemies” received the Literary Classics Gold Award in 2013.

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