Child abuse has once again raised its ugly head and parents are up in arms regarding the abuse that takes place on a daily basis. And they have every right to be angry!
There are many forms of child abuse including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse. A popular TV documentary program recently shed light on a teacher at a well-known franchise day care which promotes itself as a superior childcare and pre-primary education service provider, beating children in her care. Another case that was recently aired was the abuse of a young baby by a caregiver.
Very often we are unaware that this is happening right under our nose. So how can one be more vigilant against such crimes?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Install a hidden ‘nanny camera’. Commonly referred to as nanny cams, the devices have gained significant recognition of late and have assisted in catching nannies and babysitters “in the act”.
- Do thorough background checks when hiring nannies, baby sitters or anyone that looks after your child. Consider using a reputable hiring agency where applicants are properly vetted.
- Ensure that your child’s playschool/pre-primary school have followed the correct procedures when hiring staff.
- If a day mother is used, ensure that you do checks on the other family members that frequent the house where your child is being cared for.
- Monitor your child for behavioural changes such as anxiousness, depression, withdrawn, a change in attitude towards going to certain places or people and even aggression. In older children, other signs may be reverting to behaviour at earlier ages such as thumb sucking, bed wetting and fear of the dark.
- Bath time is a good time to observe any unusual bruising or marking which could indicate abuse. If the explanation is unconvincing or they hesitate, take extra precaution.
- Be sure to get to know your child’s friends and their parents before allowing your child to go home with a friend for a play session.
- Teach your child the privacy of touching certain parts of their body by other people. Don’t ever think that you child is too young for abuse.
- In older children, ensure that the child knows that parental communication channels are always open. An abuser often has a hold over a child in silencing them by threatening to expose the child as naughty or a liar.
- Never leave your child alone with a stranger even if the stranger is a friend of a friend’s and has come highly recommended.
And most importantly, go with your gut feeling. Do not ever feel that you are being neurotic – your child depends on you for love and protection!