Responding to abuse
Child abuse can provoke reactions of shock, denial, and panic. Such reactions can be a barrier to appropriate responses and reporting. It is therefore imperative that all staff members who will be required to use the procedures have opportunities to explore their feelings in training and supervision.
Many people assume that families are broken up and children are removed from home following child protection investigations. This is not usually the case; indeed every effort is made to keep families together.
Young people reporting abuse
Many young people do not tell adults about abuse. There are many reasons for this some of which may be:
- Fear they will not be believed.
- Fear that they are to blame.
- Threats may have been made against them or people close to them.
- A belief that they will be taken away from home.
- Feeling guilty or embarrassed.
- Communication or learning disabilities.
- They may not know that what is happening to them is child abuse.
- Some members of minority ethnic communities because of a history of racism, being misrepresented or misunderstood, may be reluctant to seek support from outsiders to their community or reluctant to engage with state agencies.
- Children with disabilities are more vulnerable to abuse sometimes because of needs for intimate care, isolation, and dependency. They are less likely to disclose because of feelings of powerlessness, not having the language or awareness, and are less likely to present cause for concern.