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Child Protection is everyone’s business

We strongly agree with the message that Queensland Child Protection represents for Child Protection Week in that it is the adults responsibility to keep children safe from harm. In reality, it is up to all members in society to play their part to ensure that children are allowed to be nurtured, kept safe and have every chance to succeed in their lives. Here is a checklist that I encourage all adults to reflect on about whether they are providing the best opportunity for their child or children in their care to feel safe and can provide every opportunity for them to thrive in their lives:

1. Look – Research shows that children often will communicate signs of abuse or unsafe behaviours through complaining of physical ailments such as tummy aches or head aches with no other obvious causation. Child abuse is not always obvious and can also show up in tantrums, bed wetting, withdrawal, regression, hypervigilance, reactiveness. It is important to pick up these possible signs of distress and to create a safe environment with the child to discuss these feelings with them.

2. Listen – Children should feel that they are listened to and heard. Sadly, often times children who speak out about abuse may be disbelieved or ignored. As adults it is important to hear what the child has to say, to seek advice and develop your skills in responding empathetically and adequately to any concerns that may arise.

3. Respond – If something does not sound right, look right or feel right then it is your actions that could make a difference in that child’s life. Research shows that a child may need to tell up to 6 adults before someone hears them about their abuse (ACF, 2010). Research also demonstrates that after telling one adult who has not heard the child they are likely to shut down and stop speaking about the abuse. It is imperative to act appropriately and responsively to potential child abuse.

4. Education – Provide education on safety behaviours to your child. As an adult there are many resources, professionals and trainings available to skill yourself up in having these conversations with your child. Education is often key in preventing and protecting from harm. Further resources, information on how to keep children safe and who you can talk to if you are worried about a child or young person can be found in the links below. As always, get in touch with us at Active Health Psychology should you wish to gain any further information and support, we are happy to help.


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