Over the years there has been a huge neglect in some countries regarding Child Rights and the lack of Law implementation in that regard, especially when we are talking about the very broad term “Child Abuse”.

Due to the heavy neglect happening towards children in some parts of the world, today not only as a lawyer but as a child rights activist I took the decision to enter the world of innocence dedicating my life, time and knowledge to raise global awareness in that matter and represent the children across the world by creating a better life for them and putting an end to their misery.

This article will address the different types of abuse; what are the causes & consequences of it, and also shed light on how to deal with this issue globally and create solutions acknowledging the power of healing to build up a stronger more intact society.

Today it is crucial to be aware that everybody is responsible for the children around us whether they are our very own, family members or complete strangers and through our actions we achieve difference BUT little did we know that “Silence” is our biggest enemy. Abuse is not only the physical attack on children, or the mere act of violence, but verbal abuse has been taken so lightly by those who are around children.

Today abuse is taking place in all shapes and forms all around the world it consists of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual harassment, child pornography & exploitation of children body parts, eye witness of sexual activity, broken household, unstable accommodation (alcoholic parents or parents under the influence of drugs).

After addressing the types of abuse it is fundamental to address the ways of overcoming such hurdles. That requires strong presence of the parents or legal guardians of the child who shall demonstrate great strength and willpower to make a change in the chain of trauma that has occurred to the child. And by that we mean taking the following steps; communicating with the child about what happened, showing a great deal of comfort when addressing the subject matter to avoid scaring the child, believe the child when they confront you and be assured that complete recovery is guaranteed if the matter is addressed immediately. The adults fear has a great impact on the child around them, so maintaining a calm approach is what is needed to avoid having the child lie or not disclose such graphic information about their traumatic experience.

Trauma is one of the ongoing side effects that the child may encounter when exposed to a form of abuse or sexual act. Low self-esteem and weak outlook on life may arise from the lack of self worth that they may have encountered when nbeing victims of such situations, consciousness, emotional regulation becomes misleading, distorted perceptions of perpetrators. This raises major difficulties for victims when entering relationships or undergo any emotional feelings and acts in the future that require love and trust as this vision becomes blurred and possibly the furthest thing from reality all this would be the catastrophic result of what occurred in their childhood trauma. Preventative methods have proven affective over the last couple of years as studies showed a great deal of improvement in children behavioural patterns. Below are guidelines that Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families have shared, which I believe are basic yet crucial steps that all parents and adults shall take into consideration in order to create a safer environment for our children and have us all alert and fully engaged in any subject matter that may arise when a child is involved in any type of abuse or suffering.

1. Volunteer your time. Get involved with other parents in your community. Help vulnerable children and their families. Start a playgroup.

2. Discipline your children thoughtfully. Never discipline your child when you are upset. Give yourself time to calm down. Remember that discipline is a way to teach your child. Use privileges to encourage good behavior and time-outs to help your child regain control.

3. Examine your behavior. Abuse is not just physical. Both words and actions can inflict deep, lasting wounds. Be a nurturing parent. Use your actions to show children and other adults that conflicts can be settled without hitting or yelling.

4. Educate yourself and others. Simple support for children and parents can be the best way to prevent child abuse. After-school activities, parent education classes, mentoring programs, and respite care are some of the many ways to keep children safe from harm. Be a voice in support of these efforts in your community.

5. Teach children their rights. When children are taught they are special and have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault, and more likely to report an offender.

6. Support prevention programs. Too often, intervention occurs only after abuse is reported. Greater investments are needed in programs that have been proven to stop the abuse before it occurs – such as family counseling and home visits by nurses who provide assistance for newborns and their parents.

7. Know what child abuse is. Physical and sexual abuse clearly constitute maltreatment, but so does neglect, or the failure of parents or other caregivers to provide a child with needed food, clothing, and care. Children can also be emotionally abused when they are rejected, berated, or
continuously isolated.

8. Know the signs. Unexplained injuries aren’t the only signs of abuse.Depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility are often signs of family problems and may indicate a child is being neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.
9. Report abuse. If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of abuse, make a report to your state’s child protective services department or local police. When talking to a child about abuse, listen carefully, assure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling an adult, and affirm that he or she is not responsible for what happened.
10. Invest in kids. Encourage leaders in the community to be supportive of children and families. Ask employers to provide family-friendly work environments. Ask your local and national lawmakers to support legislation to better protect our children and to improve their lives.

There are many preventative methods some could be followed easily by simply incorporating certain acts within our daily lives and some are more complex due to their nature as they require training and time. However the most common method of prevention starts at home and its simply by asking yourself a couple of questions such as do you enjoy being a parent? Do you yell at your child frequently? Do you physically abuse your child or feel the urge to do so?

All these questions could lead you to solutions for a happy life if addressed promptly and correctly using the right aiding tools. At the end of the day a good parent is not the one that does not encounter any problems, on the contrary a good parent is someone who solves the problems primarily through acknowledgment then by taking action. At the end of the day what is life without happy children so let’s invest today so we gain tomorrow. As Peter Ustinov once said – “Parents are the bones on which children cut their teeth”.

Fatima Al-Ali
Fatima Al-Ali