October 15, 2021
October is Child Abuse Prevention Month
October is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Canada. As we close out the month, we remind our friends and partners that each of us has a role to play.
Toba Centre advocates for the safety and well-being for children and youth throughout our province, it takes a caring community to ensure that spaces and places are safe for all of our kids.
Know What Child Abuse Is
Prevention starts with defining what child abuse is. You might think it’s obvious, but it’s important to know that child abuse is not only violent or sexual mistreatment, it’s also neglect that a child or young person may experience while in the care of others. When a parent or caregiver fails to provide food, clothing, and care, that is abuse. Children can also be emotionally abused when they are rejected, berated, or continuously isolated.
What Are the Signs?
Knowing the signs of child abuse is also vital. While unexplained injuries can point to abuse, there may also be patterns of behaviour that mean you ask a few more questions, and listen carefully to the answers. You may see signs of depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends. Also, there could be sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behaviour, poor hygiene, or unusual secrecy. These could all be signs of problems and may indicate a child is being neglected, or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.
Responsibility to Report
If a child discloses to you, listen carefully, assure the child that they did the right thing by telling an adult, and affirm that they are not responsible for what happened. Reporting child abuse can be a difficult decision. But if you believe a child is being harmed or neglected, it is your responsibility to report it. If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of abuse, you have a responsibility to report it.