Abuse and neglect are key safeguarding issues that can affect any child irrespective of his/her age, ethnicity, religious beliefs or social background. The abuse and neglect of children (defined as all those who have not yet reached their 18th birthday) can take place in a family itself, institution, community or internet-based environment, and the abuse could be perpetrated by those known to them i.e some relatives or by a stranger, including abuse by an adult, multiple adults, a child or children. Official statistics on how many children have been identified by the authorities as being at risk of, or experiencing, abuse or neglect are limited, as many children do not recognise that they are being abused or neglected as they didn’t tell about this to their parents or sometimes the parents lack in recognising it therefore, they are unlikely to report it.
The term “child abuse and neglect” includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to a child’s health, development or dignity. Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment, and individuals or sometimes parents may abuse or neglect a child by either inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent it. As such, abuse can also be a lack of love, care and attention, which can be just as damaging as physical abuse. Child abuse and neglect can have major long-term impacts on all aspects of the child’s health, development and wellbeing, and can last into adulthood. Types of child abuse can also include domestic abuse, bullying, cyber-bullying (online) child sexual exploitation. It is important to recognise that an abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse over a period of time, rather than the abuse being a one-off event. It is unlikely that an affected child will tell you that they are being abused or neglected because of fear or because of communication gap between you and your child. Recognising and responding to the signs and possible symptoms of child abuse and neglect can be difficult. Many healthcare professionals, including pharmacists and pharmacy teams, will face multiple challenges when working with children so for the family itself it becomes a difficult part. What parent can do to find out and recover these neglects is as follows-
- They must know when they need to be worried for their children not intervening in their life everytime is not a solution.
- They must be aware of which interventions are effective when there are early signs of abuse and neglect in their child.
- Knows how to recover it, if not they can consult a pharmacists freely.
SIGNS AND INDICATORS OF POSSIBLE CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT:
Identifying child abuse and neglect can be challenging and, as such, it can be difficult to take early action to protect your child from the abuse. Some of the common indicators are-
- Changes in behavior and emotional state that are a departure from what would be expected for their age and developmental stage, and is not fully explained by a known stressful situation.
- Poor appearance and hygiene (e.g. smelly, dirty, unwashed clothes, inadequate clothing, seeming hungry or turning up to school without having breakfast).
- Health and development concerns (e.g. untreated injuries, dental problems, repeated accidental injuries caused by lack of supervision by parents, recurring illnesses or infections, missed vaccinations)
- Substance or alcohol misuse.
- Eating disorders/disordered eating.
- Suicidal behaviours.
- Bullying or being bullied;
- Missing/running away from home or care.
- Sexual behaviour that is inappropriate for age, indiscriminate, precocious or coercive.
RESPONDING TOWARDS CHILD ABUSE ANG NEGLECT APPROPRIATELY:
- Being alert to signs-: Be alert with the signs of abuse and neglect, and understand the procedures set out in your local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. Consider what training would support you as a parent in your role and what is available in your area.
- Questioning behaviours-: The signs of child abuse and neglect may not always be obvious, and a child might not tell you what is happening to them. Question behaviours if something seems unusual and try to speak to the child alone, if appropriate, to seek further information, so you could take necessary steps.
- Referring-: If you have found your child to be the one facing child neglect or abuse you can easily refer to a pharmacist or a psychologist that could look upon a child in a professional manner.