Preventing Abuse Before the Cycle RepeatsAmy Sharp | September 30, 2018
According to the World Health Organization, a quarter of all adults report having been physically abused as children. One in five women and one in 13 men report having been sexually abused as a child. These two statistics apply to the world. Out of seven billion people in the world, a quarter of them report being physically abused. It does not take a psychology expert to know that any type of abuse, whether it may be physical, sexual, or emotional, will affect you for the rest of your life. Many convicted criminals will admit that they were abused in some type of way during their childhood, and that their lifestyle of crime is partially due to the abuse they had to endure. While abuse is absolutely not an excuse for a person to repeat that cycle of abuse or criminal behavior, it is definitely an issue in today’s society that something needs to be done.
After studying the lives of many infamous killers, and cases involving any type of abuse in children, it is a great statistic that majority of abusers are actually related to or directly involved in the victim’s life. This means that more often than not, when a child is being mistreated, it is by someone that they trust. By taking into consideration this factor alone, it is easy to see how that may really damage a young person’s life. After doing more research for the purpose of this post, I found that maltreatment of children by the hands of a babysitter, daycare worker, or teacher is more common than one may think. Just by typing the subject into the search bar on Google, hundreds of links come up that are news reports of a licensedchildcare worker being accused and convicted of abusing a small child. As a parent, this sickened me. To think that we live in a world where the people that I should be able to trust to care for my child, could be the person that emotionally or physically harms them for the rest of their lives.
Two people could be the most wonderful parents in the world, do every single thing right, and while they are at work, their children are being mistreated by someone they are paying and trusting to protect and care for them. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen regardless, but the statistics call for more action to be done so when these bad things happen, we can be assured that we did everything in our power to prevent them. While abuse from a family member is a lot more complicated to prevent, babysitters, teachers, and daycare workers are usually one of many that children could be placed with. There are many things a parent can do to help ensure the safety of their children to prevent or stop abuse before it is taken further.
- Always do a thorough interview process and background check on anyone that may be considered for childcare. If they are more expensive, but more qualified, it is worth it for the sake of a young child’s safety.
- If a parent, guardian, or family member gets a bad “gut” feeling regarding a hired caregiver, do not ignore it. Pull the child from their care until you are absolutely sure it is a safe environment for them to return to.
- Before considering hiring an unqualified stranger, explore the options of close family members or family friends that are trusted to care for children.
- If the children are able to communicate, be sure to ask them how they personally feel about their caregiver. If they seem unsure or upset in anyway, dig deeper. Children are not always emotionally equipped to report abuse themselves and may need to know that they are not at fault for telling another adult about it.
- If children are being cared for at a place with other children, such as a daycare or school, stay in contact with other parents and check in on other kids when able. If you do not see signs of mistreatment in your own child, someone else’s child might. You could be the one to help save many children from abuse.
- During bath times, if appropriate, look out for odd bruises or markings that may show mistreatment. Kids are often bruised by rough play with other children, but if that “gut” feeling comes up, do not ignore it.
While this is not to say that nobody is to be trusted, it is important for parents of children of all ages and future parents to understand that abuse is a very real and very scary thing in all environments. These young children that go to daycares and schools every day will be the ones that grow into world changing adults one day. Preventing abuse is possible, but as some may say, “it takes a village.” Speak up and speak loudly against those that should not be trusted to impact the little lives of our future doctors, police officers, politicians, and presidents.
If you or someone that you know are a victim of abuse, please speak up and tell an authority figure. Do not be afraid nor ashamed. You are a victim, but you are a survivor. Your story needs to be told, and your abuser deserves to be brought to justice.
If you cannot trust someone in your own home or community, please call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453.
For more information regarding statistics or ways to help prevent and cope with child abuse, please go to the World Health Organization website at http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/child/en/