Over recent years the reports of child abuse and mistreatment has significantly increased with ‘68 deaths of young individuals in the UK , on average, per year as a result of abuse and neglect’ (NSPCC). There is no discrimination to who can be abused which ultimately means there should be growing concern within society as every individual is at risk of being abused at least once in their lifetime whether it is by a family member, teacher or health care professional, it does not matter. Furthermore, the difficulty arises when you to try to identify the symptoms of abuse followed by the process of reporting and providing protection as not all cases are reported due to the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator.
Moreover, if the fundamental causes of abuse are tackled first such as creating preventative measures on substance abuse (drugs and alcohol), support for socioeconomic stress from financial or unemployment issues and extensive economic and medical support for children with intellectual or physical abilities etc., then there will be a reduction in the cases of reported abuse. This coincides with the aims of the ProChild project ( https://www.prochildproject.org/ ) as in order to achieve this there needs to intervention sessions in place to allow professionals to increase their skills in detecting the early signs of abuse which would enable them to discuss the issues present early on which would inevitably prevent further abuse.
Furthermore, the saying goes, ‘the children are our future’ which emphasises that they need to be given the appropriate voice needed to express their concerns. This may be difficult for certain individuals due to the nature of the abuse and the relationship that the child may have to the abuser. This reinforces the fact that children need the necessary support when it comes to reporting and further treatment as they are more vulnerable to changes and less aware of the wider society. The fact that children suffer mistreatment at a young age sets them out to have a different outlook on life whether it’s positive or negative which is why we need to make it our top priority to make sure they do, in fact, have a positive view so they can have a future that they deserve which is not shadowed by past events.
In addition, this is why the work of ProChild is vital as their main aim is to ‘create a multi-professional, integrated model of cooperation with stakeholders involved in response to violence against children’. This inevitably means there will be further emphasis on the protection of the fundamental rights of children with extensive measures put into place in order to have early detection and reporting of abuse cases. This is essential to safeguarding children as it should be everyone’s top priority to make sure that there is no repeated occurrences of abuse as this could lead to mental health disorders in the future. Furthermore, there needs to be integration between different agencies such as Health and Social services, Educational Agencies and Judicial Authorities etc. which is one of ProChild’s fundamental aims.
To conclude, we cannot stress the importance of this multi-professional integrated model of cooperation as it sets out a society where everyone is working together to prevent child abuse from occurring in the first place. We must protect the children now so that we have a much more protected future society where child abuse is less of a concern.
Written by our work experience student Vaisnavi Ramanan