Personal SafetyChild Abuse: What are the causes of child abuse
What are the causes of child abuse?
There is not any single fact which causes child abuse; abuse usually occurs in families where there is a combination of risk factors. Abuse and neglect occur most often in families who are under pressure and lack support. Most abuse other than sexual abuse occurs in families to which some, or all, of the following apply:
- Lack of education
- Serious marital problems
- Frequent changes of addresses
- Violence between family members
- Lack of support from the extended family
- Loneliness and social isolation
- Inadequate housing
In some cases the abuser may also display the following:
- Very high expectations of the child and what the child should achieve
- The parent may have been abused as a child
- A lack of knowledge and skills in bringing up children
- Low self esteem and self confi- dence
- Depression • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
- Mental or physical ill health
- Work pressures
Certain community attitudes may encourage child abuse. These include:
- Acceptance of the use of violence and force
- Acceptance of physical punishment of children
- Acceptance of parents “ownership” of children and their right to treat children as they see fit
- Inequality between men and women
REPORTING CHILD ABUSE
For those who are concerned about a child in relation to child abuse or neglect to making a report to child protection services in Victoria.
You are concerned about a child because you have:
- Received a disclosure from a child about abuse or neglect
- Observed indicators of abuse or neglect
- Been made aware of possible harm via your involvement in the community external to your professional role At all times remember to:
- Record your observations
- Follow appropriate protocols
- Consult notes and records
- Consult with appropriate colleagues if necessary
- Consult with other support agencies if necessary
Child abuse is a serious problem. In Victoria, if you suspect a case of child abuse or are mandated to report abuse, then you can contact Child Protection for advice. For immediate help To report concerns that are life threatening call Victoria Police 000. To report concerns about the immedi- ate safety of a child within their family unit, call the Child Protection Crisis Line 13 12 78 (24 hours, 7 days a week, toll free within Victoria) For more information visit Department of Human Services – www.dhs.vic.gov.au
Meeting the needs of children and making sure they are safe in the family is a shared responsibility between individuals, the family, the community and the government. When adults caring for children do not follow through with their responsibilities, are abusive or exploit their positions of power, then it is the child protection system that becomes responsible for taking action.
Who to contact in an emergency
- For concerns that are life threatening, call Victoria Police 000.
- For concerns about the immediate safety of a child after hours or on weekends or public holidays, call the After Hours Child Protection Emergency Service on 131 278 – toll free for all Victoria.
Other emergency contacts
- Statewide CASA Crisis Line after business hours weekdays, weekends and public holidays – Tel: (03) 9344 2210 or Rural Free Call: 1800 806 292.
- Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre – Tel: (03) 9486 9866.
When it is not an emergency
If it is not an emergency, but you are concerned that a child may be harmed from abuse by their parents or caregivers, then you can discuss your concerns with a regional Child Protection worker during office hours.
After Hours Child Protection Emergency Service
Ph: 131 278 (5.00pm – 9.00am Monday – Friday, 24 hours on weekends and public holidays)
CASA Crisis Line
Ph: (03) 9344 2210
Ph: 1800 806 292 – Rural free call
Domestic Violence & Incest Resource Centre
Ph: (03) 9486 9866