Breaking the silence of abuse and acting quickly helps children rebuild after trauma.
Too many children are still victims of violence, abuse or sexual assault. The "International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression" of this Monday, June 4 reminds us that all children need to be protected in all circumstances.
Recognize the word of the child
Many of the children who have been assaulted or abused do not talk about it immediately. The fear, shame, guilt or confusion that follows this traumatic event prevents them from verbalizing and understanding what happened.
Whether it is physical traces, or psychological signs of distress (withdrawal, sadness, deterioration of school results, sleep disorders ...), the entourage must be attentive to these clues to help the child to release his word .
Help him by asking the forbidden
When a child reveals sexual abuse or aggression to an adult, he places a fragile trust in him that is important to respect.
As soon as the child delivers his or her confidence, the adult must maintain a natural emotional response without minimizing or refusing to believe what happened. Several key phrases can help her to engage with confidence and security: "I believe you"; "What he or she did is forbidden by law"; "It's not your fault " ; "You are very brave to speak".
What to do when a child reveals acts of abuse or aggression?
Any child at risk must be protected by the family, or a child protection professional (educator, teacher, nurse, social worker ...). In order not to waste time and to help the investigation, the law obliges any person having knowledge of facts of mistreatment or violence to alert the police or the gendarmerie as soon as possible.
Why this day?
It was in 1982, following numerous conflicts in the Middle East, that the United Nations decided to commemorate the protection of children every year in all circumstances. The purpose of this day is to be able to denounce the suffering endured by the children victims of physical, psychological or emotional violence throughout the world.
What are the attacks denounced by the UN?
The law of war prohibits the targeting of civilians. Yet still too many schools or hospitals are targeted by the attacks. Children are the first victims of these armed conflicts where they are often used, recruited or detained. Six frequent violations are denounced by the UN: sexual violence, kidnapping, blocking humanitarian access, the destruction of schools and hospitals, massacres and forced recruitment.
Children are more fragile, manipulable and defenseless. They need to be protected from the risks of negligence and malevolence. With this day of action, the UN recalls that during armed conflicts, it is up to states and public authorities to guarantee the safety of the most vulnerable. Yet everyone can take action by supporting child protection associations that are on the ground to help their children grow up in this difficult environment.