Child protection is:
  • Preventing and protecting children from any form of abuse, maltreatment, neglect or degradation (Degradation = Taking someone's pride away; treating children with no respect).
  • Responding to children who have been abused or harmed.
  • Responding to children in need of care and protection.


Why is protecting our children important?
Child protection makes sure that our children are safe and their developmental needs are met. Developmental needs include: Physical, emotional, spiritual, economic, social, mental and cultural needs.


What happens when children are not protected?
When children are not protected they are at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation.


What is child abuse?
Child abuse is any type of harm or ill-treatment to a child such as: hitting, beating, sexual abuse, bullying, child labour and hurting the child emotionally and psychologically.

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities. It is abuse whether the child has consented or not. This can be flashing, peeping, fondling, exposure to pornographic material, oral sex, finder penetration of the anus, rape, sodomy or prostitution. Physical abuse, this is any act that results in inflicted injury or death to a child. This can be bruises and welts, cuts and abrasions, fractures or sprains, poisoning, burns, and any repeated injury for which the explanation is inadequate or inconsistent. Neglect is deliberately not providing for a child's physical needs (such as food, warmth, shelter or protection from danger). Failure to seek, follow through with medical care, failure to make provision for the child's education. Leaving children alone at home/in a car.
     
Emotional and psychological abuse is a pattern that harms or limits a child's emotional development or sense of self-worth. It can take the form of: criticism, threats or rejection, ignoring, isolating, taking advantage, corrupting, swearing at a child & lying to a child. Child exploitation is exposure of a child to the following situations:
Child Labour
Slavery
Sexual exploitation
Child-pornography
Child trafficking
Forced removal of body parts
Violence is any activity by a person, organisation or context that does not allow a person to reach their human rights. This can be:
Verbal, physical
Emotional
Armed conflict
Political


What can I do about child abuse?
Check for warming signs that indicates the child might be at risk or vulnerable.
  • Physical signs such as bruising, head injuries, broken bones or malnutrition.
  • Change in behaviour such as not going to school, withdrawal, poor concentration, fear, anxiety, suicidal or self harming behaviour.
  • Other signs such as obsessions, inappropriate sexual behaviour, inappropriate anger, bed-wetting and difficultly sleeping, or changes in eating.
  How do I respond when a child reports child abuse to me?
  • Believe the child.
  • Thank the child for having courage to talk to you.
  • Tell the child that it was not his or her fault.
  • Explain confidentiality – that although the child has disclosed in confidence, you as the adult need to report to the right authority, like the social worker, so that the child can get help and support. Address the child's concerns. Maybe share with them the understanding of "good and bad" secrets. Recognise and be sensitive to the child's feelings. Listen to the child, reflect on their feelings.
  • Reassure them you will find support for them. 
     
What must I NOT do?
  • Investigate the abuse.
  • Remove the child unless the child is in immediate and serious danger.
  • Confront the abuser or the parents.
  • Decide if the child is telling the truth or not.
  • Over-react when a child tells you of the abuse – listen kindly and calmly.
  • Make any promises to the child that you can't keep.
  • "Bad mouth" the abuser.
  • You have a moral responsibility according to the Children's Act to report cases or suspected cases of child abuse to police, social worker or any Child Protection organisation in your area.
  Reporting the abuse
Information required:
Name, surname and age of the child. Physical address or contact details of the child. Information on parents or care giver details. The type of abuse you suspect has occurred, and any other details you have (without investigating the abuse). Lastly your details, anonymous reports will be accepted and investigated.

Who do I report to?
  • Social worker (Social Development) - 0800 60 10 11
  • Childline - 08000 55 555
  • Police station - 10111 / 08600 10 111
  • For human trafficking - 0800 555 999