Ian Laurence Kerr
Individual, Couple & Family Counselling
TIME TO ACT ON CHILD ABUSE
Everyone is familiar with public health warnings on cigarette packets or signs in the doctor’s waiting room about getting regular exercise. But while millions of dollars are spent on these kinds of warnings, there isn’t much action on preventing child abuse.
With 54,000 cases in Australia alone, you might think there would be more attention paid to child abuse.
Child abuse has many forms:
• Domestic violence within the family
• Parent abuses drugs or alcohol so they can’t provide for the child
• Neglect, or not having the skills to respond to the child
• Assaulting a distressed child, rather than offering food or comfort.
Children who experience this suffer what is called Development Trauma Disorder, or what others call Complex Trauma. While these diagnoses remain unrecognised by mental health authorities, it is more difficult to treat children with this kind of trauma.
The best form of treatment is prevention. For example, parents who are at risk of abusing their children can be taught skills, such as parenting, managing their own emotions and providing a home that is safer for their children. It is likely they were also abused.
Meanwhile, children who behave badly because of complex trauma – who are aggressive, highly reactive, or socially inhibited – are often put into foster homes or other residential care, without attention to healing their ongoing trauma.
Research has found the best form of treatment is regular day-to-day positive experiences, for their recovery and repair.
If you believe a child is being neglected or abused, please report it to the child protection authorities. You can do this anonymously. If you believe the child is in immediate danger, call the police.
Go to http://www.aihw.gov.au/child-protection/agencies/#report 08/06/2016