February 12th 2013 commemorated the tragic twentieth anniversary of James Bulger, a two year old boy murdered after being abducted from his mother Denise’s side. Twenty years on, Denise Fergus continues to rebuild her life by establishing the James Bulger Memorial Trust, with plans to build a James Bulger Home, a holiday and respite facility for victims of crime, hatred or bullying. Denise wishes for the home to exist as part of a network of Red Balloon Learner Centres that specialize in caring for victims of bullying.
The relaunch of the James Bulger Trust Memorial Website March on March 16th 2013 occurred on James’ 23rd birthday. Denise’s consistent passion towards raising awareness over child safety ensures that James will not be forgotten, and the memorial website has registered charity status so that donations from the public can be accepted and put towards the James Bulger Home. Denise’s inspiring persistence in helping society and protecting bullied victims is remarkable, reiterating her moral strength and compassion as a human being.
Incredibly, Denise Fergus is not alone in her wish to protect society after the bereavement of a loved one. The parents of Sarah Payne, who was murdered in July 2000, fronted a campaign sparked by The News of The World, in which they called for the government to permit regulated access to the Sex Offenders register, a law that they believe could have prevented Sarah’s death. This law has become known as ‘Sarah’s Law’, and has since been extended to a scheme permitting enquiries about certain individuals.
April 22nd 2013 marks the anniversary of Stephen Lawrence, a black teen who died of stab wounds in South East London. Lawrence’s murder led to an unprecedented national enquiry as it deemed the police to be ‘institutionally racist’. Lawrence’s family have since founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, seeking to promote the advancement of social justice and welfare for children nationally, with workshops on education and employment ability. Lawrence’s death sparked an outcry towards knife crimes in London, and the death of Ben Kinsella in June 2008 reinforced this need for its abolishment. Ben’s father condemned the law, stating “If you murder someone with a gun, the starting tariff is 30 years. But if you do it with a knife, it’s 15 years”. As a direct result of consistent campaigning and media attention, there has been a significant development in the law regarding knife crime. This new development aims to increase the minimum tariff for knife murders from fifteen years to twenty five years, a progression that will be known as ‘Ben’s Law’.
It is within our deepest sympathies that we commemorate the 20th anniversaries of James Bulger and Stephen Lawrence this year – but it is with the nations deepest gratitude that the families of these innocent victims must be thanked and supported throughout their journeys in improving the safety of generations to come, embodying national spirit by pushing for stricter laws upon society that will inevitably prevent a number of deaths in the future.
Donations to the James Bulger Trust Memorial website can be made on http://forjames.org/. Donations to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust can be made on http://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk/. Donations towards Ben Kinsella can be made on http://www.benkinsella.org.uk/.