This is not always possible – for victims to tell someone they trust. Once abused, who can they trust? How do they know who they can trust once their trust has been violated? More likely than not, they’ve been told that those who they can trust either already know about the abuse (it’s a lie) and that they’re not to be trusted (it’s a lie). Statistics tell us that more often than not (around 80%) it’s people they thought they could trust who perpetrated the crime.
The only way to get the message across to children is to spend time educating them from a very young age about what is and is not okay, so that if anything, the signs of abuse will become evident and teachers, parents and carers will become more astute in recognising the signs of abuse. Leaving it to the parents or the school is not enough. The schools must do their part in educating the children outside of the family home and parents need to educate the children outside of the school environment. It’s so important that everyone associated with each child is vigilant. If a child is socially and developmentally happy – child psychology – then it is more than likely that they are happy and safe at home and outside of the school environment. If they are playing up, trying to get attention, not learning to their capabilities, then surely someone must be thinking something’s not right. And to take a child’s word (albeit mostly true – but kids are known to lie to protect those who care for them, who they love, who love them) that nothing’s wrong and everything’s fine is not enough. I’m not saying that they’re being abused at home, and they might not even know why they’re feeling sad or low but to ignore it is not good enough.
Children spend as long at school each day as we spend working in the office. If we are acting up and moody or low, a good team or manager who knows us pretty well, will ask if everything’s okay.Sometimes it’s ignored but generally it is noticed. Often adults keep out of it, not wanting to be nosy. If work performance is affected, we will be asked to explain ourselves. Being adults/grownups, we would be expected to give a reasonable explanation and being older, one would assume that the emotions could be controlled but the situation is more than likely understood in an adult perspective and can be articulated and dealt with more readily than with our young’uns. Children don’t always understand what’s going on around them in the world of their adults. There may be arguing in the home and the child may be affected by this but not know or understand this. It may take some gentle delving to find out how things are at home – considering this is where children spend most of their time outside of school, it’s a good place to start. Teachers are allowed to ask these questions, aren’t they? If there is a potential safeguarding issue then surely the rules of safeguarding apply?
What are these rules / laws?
All organisations, including charities, are expected to comply with the government inter-agency statutory guidance Working together to safeguard children, ‘unless exceptional circumstances arise’.
How safe are our children? This NSPCC report is also interesting reading.
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