What Kids Should Know about Child Abuse and Neglect
What is Child Abuse?
When an adult or older child hurts someone younger than them on purpose, it is called abuse. There are different types of abuse.
- Physical abuse is when an older person hits a child so hard that it leaves a bruise or cut on the child’s body. While spanking is not abuse, if you get hit so hard that you have a big bruise or black eye, that is physical abuse.
- Verbal abuse is when people use words to hurt you.
- Sexual abuse is when a grown-up or older child touches you on the private parts of your body without good reason. A good reason is when small children and babies need help to keep clean (like in the bath) or for health reasons. When you go to the doctor for a check-up, the nurse or doctor need to check out your whole body to make sure it is growing in the right way. Of course, if you have a rash or a tick near your private parts, a grown-up you trust is going to have to help you take care of this.
What Should I do if Someone is Abusing Me?
The first thing you should do is to tell the person to stop it. Try and use your strong voice and look the person in the eyes when you tell them to stop.
If you are being abused and afraid to tell the person to stop than talk to another grown-up you trust about the situation. It is a grown-ups job to keep children safe. If you tell a grown-up and they don’t help you to stop the abuse from happening again you need to tell another can help you to be safe.
You Can Tell Mom and Dad but Who Else Could You Tell?
Remember that you have grown-ups in two places that can help you! The grownups at home, like Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Step Moms and Step Dads, even you best friends parents. There are the grown-ups at school that can help you also. Your teachers, principal, nurse, lunch monitors, guidance counselors, social workers, librarians, bus drivers, janitors and even the secretary in the main office could help to keep you safe.
If you are too afraid or embarrassed to tell an adult that you know, you can call us and we can help you to be safe. Our phone number is (716) 372-8532.
What if my Friend Told me Someone was Abusing them and I had to Promise not to Tell Anyone? Should I Still Tell?
Tell your Mom or Dad so that you can help your friend stop the abuse from happening again. If your friend goes to the same school as you do, you can tell your teacher or any other grownup in school. The important thing is to get your friend help fast.
Why do People Want to keep this a Secret?
Sometimes kids are told that it is their fault that they were hit or sexually abused and they believe this! It is NEVER a child's fault, if someone bigger than them is hurting them. The older person knows what they are doing is WRONG. That is why they want the child to keep it a secret. So they don’t get in trouble.
Could it ever be my Fault if Someone Bigger than me is Abusing Me?
NEVER! They want you to think that so that you will be too embarrassed to tell another grownup. This is a TRICK! You can trick the person that is hurting you, back. When they make you promise to keep the abuse a secret it is O.K. to tell them that you promise NOT to tell anyone. Then……when you get to a safe place like home or school, tell someone that can help you stop the abuse from happening again.
People that abuse kids can be really tricky, especially if the person is sexually abusing a child. Usually people that sexually abuse a child act really nice at first, so that the child trusts and likes them. The tricky thing is that when they break the touching rules and touch children on their private parts without a good reason they sometimes tell the child that this means we are really good friends or they may tell you that you will be in big trouble if you tell anyone. Trust your feelings and remember the touching rules. Tell the person to STOP what they are doing, get away from them and then tell a grown-up you trust about what happened.
Who Can I Trust?
Most adults and older kids you know are nice. But sometimes an adult might have a sickness in their brain or take drugs and alcohol and they do things that most adults wouldn't do to kids. These adults think it is O.K. to abuse kids and they need to learn that it never O.K. to hit a child so very hard that it leaves a big mark on their body. They also need to know that it is never O.K. to touch a child on their private parts without a good reason or to take pictures of a child with no clothes on. It is also not OK to ask a child to touch the grown-ups privates. YUK!
How Can I Tell if Someone is Planning on Tricking me into Secret Games of Touching
that are not OK?
The best thing to do is to TRUST your feelings about people. Our body usually gives us a warning signal when something is dangerous or just not right. It could feel like butterflies in our tummy, or warm and prickly all over. It even may feel like you are going to throw up. If you get this feeling about a person or a place that you are at, tell a grownup you trust how you are feeling. If a person makes you get these warning feelings SPEAK UP! Tell someone that you get an uncomfortable feeling when you are around that person. Keep on telling until someone listens to you.
Should I Always be Worried about Older People Trying to Trick or Abuse Me?
No, because most of the adults that we have in our lives really care about children and want to help keep them safe.
Remember to trust your feelings. If someone doesn’t feel right or someone seems dangerous to you than you need to tell a grown-up you trust about your feelings. This could be embarrassing and hard at first, but it is the best way to keep safe.