Child abuse: An issue no one should ignore

WORLD Children’s Day, a day set aside to mark the celebrations of “young ones” around the globe.

But as the festivities and celebrations are being held, somewhere in every country around the world, small young children are being hurt. Child abuse is an issue no one should ignore.

Children have to be raised in loving and caring environments where their needs are met.

Parents, guardians and caregivers have the responsibility to ensure their children have the basic rights of food, clothing and shelter.

These adults should also demonstrate love, care, patience and good behaviour so that children feel like they belong in a safe space where healthy living takes place — a space where children are allowed to be children, to be creative, to play without being afraid of living in fear for their lives. Trust is also very important because children are vulnerable. They should be able to trust that the adults will take care of them.

They depend on the adults to do that because they are still very young and do not have much life experiences. It is my hope that all children in this world will grow up in loving, nurturing environments where they themselves may grow up to follow these examples and in return also bring their own children up in this manner. While I live in hope, I have to be realistic because this ideal world does not yet exist. We still have a long way to go. Child abuse is real. Some children are being harmed for all kinds of reasons by the very people who are supposed to love and nurture them.

This makes their environments unsafe and dangerous to live or grow up in. Abuse, whether physical, emotional, verbal or sexual does live scars on the child’s wellbeing. Constant child abuse brings about trauma that can haunt the child for life. When this happens, the child’s behaviour begins to change, from being a happy, bubbly person to a more distant, isolated and in some cases, hostile.

These changes in the child’s behaviour are a direct result of what the child has painfully experienced or is still experiencing. It’s not hard to tell if a child is being abused when these signs are displayed. The signs are in their behavioural changes. If you know a child who you suspect is being abused at home, please do not be afraid to seek advice from experts about how to help this child. The experts can be people like teachers, other adults you trust, your church leaders, or the police.

So every year, as we celebrate World Children’s Day, remember the victims of child abuse. Remember the children living in constant fear, pain, and danger. Let’s celebrate all children no matter what their situation is.

* Antonia Bhagwan is a Year 7 student at Holy Trinity Anglican School. Her article is part of UNICEF’s Kids Takeover program where children from around the Pacific take over key roles in media and entertainment on World Children’s Day. Views expressed are hers and not of this newspaper.

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