Why are our systems failing to protect children? @ 27 Jan 2011
An alarming article in the West Australian recently ran the headline, ‘Child welfare plans put back as sex claims rise’.
The article goes on to say ‘More than 3100 claims of child sexual abuse were reported to WA authorities last year but only a fraction were proven.’ ‘Some child health experts say the new figures confirm their concerns that under mandatory reporting laws, resources could be diverted from areas most in need.’ The most distressing thing about the article was that out of those 3109 claims only 363 have been substantiated.
It compares to 2008 when there were 1611 reported cases, with 350 substantiated.
We have to ask ourselves “Why?” Why aren’t abuse reports being substantiated? Why are our systems failing to protect children? Is it our court system? Maybe judges or juries don’t believe this can happen to children, so therefore they must be making this up. Do they really believe that so many children would lie and misreport such painful stories? Is it a lack of resources, with children being way down on the importance scale? We will probably never really know all the reasons why claims are not being substantiated. But one thing is for sure, prevention is the way to go.
Children need to have Abuse Prevention Education at home and at school or childcare. We need to empower them with strategies which give them the ability to keep themselves safe. We need to give them a common language, so that should they have to disclose about abuse or unsafe practices they will have the words they need. But, more importantly, we must teach them that Private means just for you and that no one is allowed to touch your private parts or show you theirs. No one has the right to ask a child to touch their private parts nor should a child be shown pictures of private parts.
Is Abuse Prevention Education being taught at your child’s school or childcare centre?
If not you may like to visit http://www.safe4kids.com.au/