Do you suspect you’re seeing the signs of abuse on a child? If so, then you may be unsure how to act and what steps should be taken. In such a delicate, yet threatening event, you need to know how to get it right.
Failure to act could leave a child in danger, yet getting it wrong could leave someone falsely accused. To know how to spot the signs and what to do, we give our guide on how to protect abused children.
Know How To Spot Abuse
The first way in which you can support an abused child is to know the signs of abuse. Without this, you may overlook or even underestimate the extent of the abuse afflicting them. You may be their only lifeline.
Firstly, children have a number of needs that they must be provided with to function. These are food, clothing, and shelter. If one of these seems to be missing, it is the first sign of abuse or neglect.
Other forms of abuse, which may be harder to spot, are physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. While physical abuse may be easy to spot on a person, the other two will rely purely on signals picked up by behavioral patterns in the abused. They may also choose to discuss this with you.
Steps to Protect Abused Children
Once you suspect child abuse, you must report it to the relevant authorities or board. If you work in an educational or health care sector, you may already have a designated person that you should report to. You may also have certain procedures that you should follow rigorously.
If you are not in one of these scenarios, then you should contact the local authorities. The police will be the first stop, and this will then be referred to the department of children and families.
It is important that the DCF listen to the case, so they can begin the correct legal proceedings. This is the part where you will need a lawyer, to ensure they have the full story. You can discover more about specialist law firms that may assist you here.
One of the best forms of child abuse prevention is through education. Very often, the abuser, or the child, may not even realize that abuse is taking place. Normalization of the events occurs, that requires education to show how unacceptable they are.
Firstly, child and parent support classes are the first step to education. Respite care and mentoring programs should all be available in the community, though they do require the person reaching out for help to use them.
The second form of education is to teach children themselves. They should know their rights and know what constitutes abuse.
When you take steps to protect abused children, also make sure you protect yourself. This means legally, physically, and mentally. While this does take second place to the needs of the child, you need to be safe as well.
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