Ways to safeguard against child abuse

2019-01-17 06:01

ONLY one in 10 children who are victims of abuse report it themselves and those who keep the abuse a secret are far more likely to suffer psychological, emotional, social and physical problems that will most likely follow them into adulthood. This is according to a report released by the Tongaat Child and Family Welfare Society recently.

Social work manager at the society Jo Moodley said most victims are abused by family members.

“Most likely, you know a child who either has been or is being abused.

“It is also likely that you know an abuser. Most are not ‘strangers,’ but are our friends and family members.

“About 59% [of abused children] are abused by people the family judges to be trustworthy. In fact, it is a common tactic of abusers to first establish a trusting relationship with the parents of the child. Many young children are also abused by other children. These children have no characteristics that ‘set them apart’ for us to identify them as abusers. They look and act just like us and go out of their way to appear trustworthy,” she said.

The society urged parents to monitor their children’s internet use. Moodley added: “The internet has become a playground for paedophiles to interact privately with children. Their goal is to lure them into physical contact after gaining their trust. Report all cases of suspected abuse, whether inside or outside the family. The child’s safety is much more important than any emotional conflict you may have to face.”

Tips:

>Notice a child’s fear of going home.

>Be vigilant if a child is expressing inappropriate knowledge of sexual relations. If a child is a victim of sexual abuse, he or she may exhibit overly sexual behaviour, or use explicit sexual language.

>Be aware if the child shows weight loss or other signs that a child is not getting enough to eat. Underfed children may be unusually sluggish or fatigued.

>If a child is stealing or begging for food from fellow classmates or members of the community. Children who do not get enough to eat may resort to trying to obtain food in whatever way they can.

>Sexual behaviour and language that are not age-appropriate can be a red flag.

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