About you & young people you know
Children suffering abuse or neglect often tell their friends first – here is how to help, or what to do if you are being neglected or abused.
Firstly, don’t ignore it!
Easy things to do are to find out more about how to help, and to tell your friend that it’s not their fault.
Secondly, don’t keep it secret – but be careful who you tell
Tell people who can help, especially if it’s their job to help – call a children’s helpline or charity, tell a doctor or teacher you trust, or your parents.
If the first person you tell doesn’t listen then just keep telling.
Don’t tell people who might gossip or find it interesting – adults are the best people to tell because they often know what to do, and can help reassure you.
Keeping secrets about child abuse only protects the person doing the abuse, and lets them carry on doing it.
Lastly – Don’t worry about being believed – report it anyway
Often young people being neglected or abused can be angry and misbehave. Sometimes they might have told lies about small things in the past, but lying about child abuse is very, very rare.
If you report abuse through a helpline, or to someone whose job means they can report abuse then they have a duty not to judge the child, only to investigate the neglect or abuse. The person might be abusing other people as well, or might have abused other people in the past.
How abusers might try to stop abusing being reported
Many abusers pick on ‘vulnerable’ children, such as those with problem behavior or a difficult family life, those with learning difficulties, those involved in minor crimes (like stealing or drinking alcohol). They think these children are less likely to be believed if they tell and often these children don’t have as many reliable adults to tell.
Abusers can groom someone to try to make them agree to the abuse, this is very common with sexual abuse. Grooming can involve giving cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, gifts or money – the idea is to make the child feel loyal to them and that they are a friend to the child. Sometimes abusers starting with ‘online friendships’ or ‘online dating’ and lie about their abuse, this is major cause of abuse.
Grooming can also involve manipulating the child in order to blackmail them – don’t tell or I will tell that you take drugs, don’t tell or I will post rude images of you on the internet. If they do try to post rude images then they are breaking the law and the pictures can be removed, and they have committed a crime.
Abusers lie. They can pretend to be nice people and safe people for children to be around. They often get parents and neighbors to trust them or do charity work, kids can see them as ‘cool’, especially if they break the rules sometimes. They might be friends with a lot of your friends. This is another way to stop children telling. Some people wrongly thing that women don’t abuse children. Some people wrongly thing that boys and young men should be able to stop abuse on their own or that they might be choosing to be sexual with an older woman – but sexual abuse happens to boys too.
You can report it online or by telephone anonymously.
You do not have to be sure it is abuse or neglect to report your suspicions.
Some abusers are parents.
This makes it very hard for a child to tell, because children love their parents and are afraid of what might happen to them. Here is a video from a parent who used to abuse her children, but got help to understand why and to stop the abuse.
Reporting neglect and abuse
United States https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?rs_id=5&rate_chno=W-00082
New Zealand http://www.occ.org.nz/advice http://www.childmatters.org.nz/
Australia http://www.police.wa.gov.au/YOURSAFETY/ChildProtection/ReportingChildAbuse/tabid/1241/Default.aspx http://au.reachout.com/Emergency-Help
United Kingdom http://www.childline.org.uk
Reporting online child pornography, pedophile sites, grooming for abuse
Reporting pedophiles and images of children being hurt or abused on the internet is easy!
You can do it anonymously.
What can you do today for Child Abuse Prevention Month?
- You can let your friends know you are a safe person to talk to about ‘bad’ things.
- You can share posts like this to help other people learn more about abuse and reporting it.
- You can join the Operation Scarecrow group on facebook so you have somewhere to report things to quickly
- You can follow or ‘like’ http://www.justtell.org/
- You can make your facebook, twitter, tumblr, myspace, pininterest, flickr accounts more secure – block anonymous access and reduce your friends list
- You can add a blue ribbon or Child Abuse prevention/awareness image to your social networking site, or use it as your online image. You can even make one yourself.
- You can find out even more about recognizing abuse and neglect here