It’s the month of April and also Child Abuse Prevention month all over the world!
This is a time for communities and families to come together to raise awareness and empower people to play a role in making every child have a safe childhood. A safe childhood means one devoid of violence and any form of abuse. Moreover, it is every child’s right!
Ideally, Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention should be recognized every day as abuse is very present in our society and it has long-term effects on its victims, especially children.
Some of the consequences of child abuse are depression, developmental delays, low self-esteem, withdrawal, fear, and distrust, among many others.
Types of Abuse
1. Physical abuse: This means to inflict injury or harm to a child’s body. It includes when someone:
- Hits, strikes, or bites
- Throws a child
- Burns a child
- Throws objects at a child
- Ties up a child
2. Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is any kind of sexual acts or behaviour with a child, It includes when someone:
- Engages in kissing, touching or sexual intercourse with a child
- Forces a child to view or participate in pornographic pictures or videos
- Shows the child someone else’s genitals
3. Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is a pattern of behaviour that harms as well as, affects a child’s mental well-being and emotional development. Some forms of emotional abuse are:
- Lack of love and affection
- No emotional support and guidance
- Constant criticism and shaming
- Threats and bullying
4. Neglect: Neglect is when parents or caregivers fail to provide their children’s basic needs. These needs are necessities of life, they are:
- Medical care
Some signs of Child Abuse are:
- The sudden change in the attitude of the child, like a happy child, suddenly starts to withdraw.
- Unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes.
- Doing poorly in school.
- Social withdrawal.
- Appearing to be frightened of a specific individual
How can you contribute to child abuse prevention?
- Informing Families: We encourage communities to raise awareness about child abuse. Additionally, they should sensitize and support families with strategies to prevent child abuse.
- Join or create outreach programs, specifically meant for raising awareness.
- Some resources and activities help in identifying abuse.
- If you see something, say something! For instance, if you have concerns or suspect a case of Child Abuse around you, you can contact your local police or identify any specialist organization close to you to share your concerns or suspicions.
Lagos state has set up The Domestic and Sexual Violence Response (DSVRT) team, they can be contacted anonymously by dialing *6820# or by calling 0813-796-0048
Likewise, Child Protection Unit can be contacted on 0907-733-3426.
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