Moral panic.

Essay by naddouchvipUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2003

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Moral Panic

Moral Panic is that feeling of fear and threat that spreads between the members of a certain society when crimes that threat them and their moral order happen in their society. Most of these crimes deal with bad sexual abuse of children. Such panic usually occurs in towns with small populations where most people know each other. It is thought that such towns are characterized by low levels of education but in some cases this does not have to be true. In most cases rumors play the biggest role in spreading the panic and exaggerating it, which will in such cases affect negatively peoples' feelings and thinking. Nowadays the best spreading tool - whether it was true or false - is the media. Media can spread information easily and widely over great areas in a fraction of a second. Nonetheless, TV channels and other media types usually go deeper into such matter by doing interviews with survivors or victims and following investigations day by day.

Such a process enlarges the panic and makes it harder to forget. Either if this topic is true or not, some think that parents share the guilt for sending their children to be cared for by someone else.

An example of such an incident is that of Peter Ellis who was convicted of 16 counts relating to offences against seven children who had been enrolled at his work place at the Christchurch Civic Creche in New Zealand. He was sentenced 10 years in prison. Peter was described as an outgoing person given to putting plenty of enthusiasm and energy into his work and social activities. The parents and colleagues even regarded him as the "darling" of the centre. In November 1991 a mother complained about a comment her son had made about Peter.