Child abuse related issues
Child abuse is physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment or neglect of children by parents, guardians, deprivation dwarfism, or others.
All professionals, who work with children, conduct to report to social services in cases of child abuse. Police and social services operate a multi-agency approach in cases of serious abuse.
The Emotional effects of child abuse are low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, personality disorders.
The physical effects are lifelong health problems, injury, death.
The behavioural effects could be problems in school and work, delinquency, teen pregnancy, suicide attempts, criminal or antisocial behaviour, substance abuse, aggressive behaviour.
The Children Act 1989 states that abuse should be considered to have happened when someone's actions have caused a child to suffer significant harm to their health or development (44).
Significant harm means that someone is punishing a child too much, hitting or shaking a child, constantly criticising, threatening or rejecting a child, sexually interfering with or assaulting a child, not looking after a child - not giving them enough to eat, ignoring them, not playing or talking with them or not making sure that they are safe (44).
Children, young people and their families can sometimes need extra support if they are finding it difficult to deal with or understand their emotions and / or behaviour.
There are a wide range of issues that affect children. They can find it difficult to express their worries, meaning that problems are left unresolved and undetected and can stretch into their adult lives. Unfortunately, abuse and mistreatment are the more serious issues and often require urgent specialist attention (45).
Children who have suffered serious abuse or neglect can be difficult to care for, and the service can offer help and advice to parents and carers (44).
The emotional cost of bullying
What is bullying?
Bullying happens when a child is picked on by another child or group of children. It is hurtful and deliberate. It can happen in many different ways.
Children who bully may hit or punch another child, kick them or trip them up, take or spoil their things, call them names, tease them, give them nasty looks, threaten them, make racist remarks about them, spread nasty rumours or stories about them, not let them join in play or games, spread nasty rumours and stories by text message or on social networking websites, not talk to them, “send them to Coventry”.
Victims find it difficult to defend themselves. Bullying usually happens again and again, and can go on for a long time unless something is done about it.
How common is bullying?
Bullying is common and happens in all schools. Surveys in this country have shown that half of primary school pupils and one in 10 secondary school pupils in England are being bullied.
Why does it happen?
There is no single reason why some children become bullies or victims.
Children who are aggressive are more likely to become bullies. They pick on children who appear different in some way - those who are quiet, shy, alone at playtime, and unable to defend themselves. Children who have an illness or disability or who are overweight are also more likely to be bullied.
What effects does bullying have?
Being bullied can seriously affect a child's physical and mental health. This can include feeling sad and lonely, lacking confidence and feeling bad about themselves, becoming depressed or even suicidal; complaining of various physical symptoms e.g. headaches, stomach aches; worrying and trying to avoid going to school.
These problems can carry on long after the bullying has stopped.
Young people are often ashamed, embarrassed, and may believe they deserve it. Many children are frightened of telling because they fear the bullies will find out and hurt them even more. It can take great courage to tell an adult.
Who and what can help?
Be open to the possibility that your child might be being bullied. Some parents may not think of bullying as a possible reason for their child's unhappiness.
Listen. One of the most important things you can do is to listen to your child if they say they are being bullied. It can be very difficult for them to talk to anyone about it.
Take your child seriously. Many children suffer in silence for a long time before they tell anyone.
Do not blame the child. Being bullied is not their fault.
Reassure them that they were right to tell you. Do not promise to keep the bullying a secret. Something must be done about it. Reassure your child that you, and the teachers, will make sure that things do not get worse because they have told you.
Tell the school so they can stop it. Teachers don't always know that a child is being bullied.
Find out if there is an anti-bullying programme in the school.
Talk with your child and work out ways of solving the problem. Include your child in decisions about how to tackle the problem. For example, work out some practical ways for them to stop the bullying. You might discuss what they should say back if they are called names, or where it's safe to go at playtime.
Bullying happens in every school, so every school should have an anti-bullying programme. They should make it clear that they won't allow bullying or aggressive behaviour. Schools should take every incident of bullying seriously.
Schools can obtain an anti-bullying pack from the Department for Education. Other professionals who can help.
Children whose health has been affected may benefit from some specialist help from their general practitioner, school nurse, a social worker or an educational psychologist. Children with emotional problems quite often need these to be treated directly, even if the school has managed the bullying. Your general practitioner can refer your to your child to a child and adolescent mental health service.
If your child has special educational needs, discuss this with the school who may refer your child to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) (176).
If you have child related issues counselling and psychotherapy may be provided via Skype and FaceTime in the comfort of your home, office or any place of your choice.