Tips for treating and reporting child abuse

Family and child abuse is, unfortunately, a lot more common than we imagine. The abuse can be divided into several categories: sexual, emotional, physical or psychological. Sometimes it does not belong to only one of these categories, but it combines several of them.

Child abuse is a topic on which most of us is especially sensitive. Children are more vulnerable to all forms of abuse than adults, for a variety of reasons. They are physically weaker and often incapable to clearly articulate the problem. This means that we need to special attention on children’s behavior in order to notice if something is wrong.

Because of all this, people in certain professions need to pay extra attention and act timely if they notice any form of cruelty towards children. They need to know how to recognize the abuse and what are their rights and legal obligations in case they notice the problem.

First of all, if you notice that a child is being abused, you need to report the case straight away. It is above all a moral duty, but in many legislations it is also a legal one. In case you know about the abuse and fail to report it, you may be subject to punishment together with the abuser.

Next, it is important to know whether you fall into the category of professions which are under legal obligation to report the abuse. In some legislations, not everyone is obliged to file a report. However, professions such as chool or kindergarten teachers are considered responsible for reporting abuse in timely manner.

In case you notice the signs of child abuse, you should report it to the authorities. Many countries have special phone lines for reporting abuse cases. If you notice that the child comes to school marked and bruised very often, you have the right to suspect and report the abuse. Unfortunatelly, not every form of cruelty is easy toidentify. Some forms do not leave any physical marks on children, so it is may not be easy to spot the problem on time. Therefore, observe the behavior of children and their reactions in everyday situations in order to spot the alarming changes. No matter if you are in a profession working with children, a child’s relative or a parent, you should keep track of the child’s behavior. Even if the child does not suffer physical cruelty, emotional abuse is also a serious issue. It can leave consequences on the child’s behavior and emotions, and it is considered a crime just like other forms of abuse.

Lastly, there are sometimes situations when parents get divorced and share custody over a child. One of the parents may notice that the child returns from the other parent with bruises and marks. Also, the child can seem frightened, stressed and disoriented; he or she may cry more often or otherwise act strangely. In such cases, you are also allowed and even required to report the abuse. The matter is sensitive so do not jump to conclusions, but pay close attention on the child’s behavior and act accordingy.