Please remember, if you SUSPECT that a child is being harmed, it is your duty, under the Canadian Criminal Code to report your suspicions to your local police department, your Provincial Police department if you live in a rural area, Children’s Aid Society or Family and Children’s Services in your area. It is not up to you to determine or investigate the situation on your own that is the job of the police and child protective services. It IS your duty though, to report your suspicions of child abuse.
SAFTETY PLANNING WITH PRESCHOOL CHILDREN
Help the child get out of danger
Have the child identify a safe room/place in the home – preferably with a lock and a telephone
Teach the child to call for help out of the view of the abuser – 911 – giving their name, address and the fire number if they live in a rural area
Rehearse with the child what to say on the phone once they reach the police – “Someone is hurting me or someone is hurting my Mommy/Daddy?
Teach your child about Block Parents in case they need assistance on the way home from school. Help them to recognize the red and white sign and that these people are safe people to go to for help.
SAFETY PLANS WITH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN
Teach the child how to get to safety.
Remind the child it is not their job to keep Mom or Dad safe
Practice role-playing of calling the police.
Teach them to call 911 with their name address and fire number.
It is important to teach the child to leave the phone off the hook. The police will call back if the phone is hung up and that may put them at more risk with the offender, as they will then realize that the police have been notified.
WARNING SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE IN CHILDREN
Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong.
Shows extremes in behaviour (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive).
Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver.
Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, temper tantrums).
WARNING SIGNS OF PHYSICAL ABUSE IN CHILDREN
Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen.
Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days.
WARNING SIGNS OF NEGLECT IN CHILDREN
Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather.
Hygiene is consistently bad (unwashed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odour).
Untreated illnesses and physical injuries.
Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments.
Is frequently late or missing from school.
WARNING SIGNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE IN CHILDREN
Trouble walking or sitting.
Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behaviour.
Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason.
Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14.