Strand: Moral matters

How should we go about protecting vulnerable groups in society? The outrageous cases of abuse in Rotherham and elsewhere show that there are children and young people who are not receiving the protection they need from the authorities. Yet those same authorities are intervening ever more in family life in other ways. How can we get the balance right? Similar concerns affect those receiving aid from charities in the developing world, with accusations of NGO workers paying locals for sex, even underage girls. Have charities lost sight of their mission - and their authority? Fifty years ago, the greatest concern in poorer countries was overpopulation, rather than lascivious aid workers, with the spectre of mass starvation as the number of people boomed. Were such neo-Malthusian fears misplaced or simply mistimed? And where once major religions dominated society, are those who hold religious beliefs increasingly marginalised? Do we need to protect their freedom of conscience or are such beliefs used to deny other groups their own rights?