Keeping kids safe
Child sexual abuse
Sexual abuse of children is against the law. Child sexual abuse is when an adult, another child or adolescent uses their power to involve a child in sexual activity. Sexual activity includes sexual intercourse and a range of sexual behaviours that can be physical, verbal or emotional.
I am concerned about a child
If you have concerns about a child’s safety it can be difficult to know what to do. Most children and young people live in safe and supportive environments however some will sadly experience child abuse. This may be physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect or exposure to family violence.
Lost, missing or abducted?
There are about 38 000 missing person reports made to police every year in Australia. Young people between the ages of 13 -17 are the most likely group to be reported missing, making up about 50% of all missing person reports. Children between the ages of 0 – 12 are one of the least likely groups to be reported missing.
Talking personal safety
It is the responsibility of adults to keep children safe, this includes helping them develop personal safety skills. It is not about scaring or frightening children but increasing communication and learning new skills. Our job as safe adults is to listen, believe and support.
The internet can be a wonderful tool for children to learn, communicate with others and play games, but this isn’t without risks. Children are accessing technology and the internet at a younger age than ever before. It’s never too early to start chatting to your child about how to stay safe online.
Internet access is a regular part of life for many children and young people around the world. It is the responsibility of adults to keep children safe, this includes helping them to develop cyber safety skills. Touchscreen technologies allow children to access the internet quickly and easily but often they do not understand the complexity of their actions online.
Promoting self-care during a crisis
During times of crisis, children and young people will normally look to the adults in their life as role models for how to cope and keep themselves safe. If adults are modeling positive behaviour strategies for dealing with crisis and stress, children are more likely to follow suit.
Communication during a crisis
How we communicate with children and young people during a time of crisis can directly influence these outcomes. For some adults this is not a problem, but not everyone finds it easy to have a difficult conversation with a young person, especially when the crisis might be affecting them too and emotions are running high.
Positive coping strategies
Moments of crisis and turmoil can lead children and young people to experience intense feelings that can be emotionally overwhelming and scary. If children and young people are not equipped to effectively deal with their feelings during such times unhealthy coping habits and strategies might develop. These may in turn make the situation worse, potentially leading to future mental health issues.
Responding to a Disclosure of Abuse
For most children, discussing abuse is extremely challenging and emotionally stressful. They may suffer a high level of anxiety and distress from fear of repercussions. They may have made a disclosure in the past and nobody believed them or acted to protect them from that abuse. In some instances, children and young people might not even recognise or understand that they are being abused.
Video calling is fast becoming a popular part of our everyday lives. Apps such as Facetime, Whatsapp, Messenger and Skype are now being used for a range of purposes from socialising with friends and family to engaging in extracurricular activities and online learning for school.