It was my 11th birthday. My father just came out of prison for running a man over. I wanted a diary and a hug but my present was a black eye and bruises up my arms, the next day at school; I wore a long sleeve and a pair of sunglasses. This went on for 4 and a half years, four weeks before I got out her father threw me to the floor and kicked me in the stomach and shins. 6 in the shins and 12 in the stomach, wearing my socks higher than usual at school, I covered the bruises and to cover my arms I wore a jumper on that warm day. It was only February. I was neglected I had to cook my own food, but if we asked for food we had to have Pizza, make my own lunch and even get myself ready for school, I had to do my own washing and cleaning. All he would do was sit on the game he had, when he got off I was abused, he called me pathetic, worthless, stupid, he told me I could never become successful, I’ll be on a gutter begging for money, the rest of my life. I had to wear jumpers all seasons to hide the bruises, long pants to hide the marks and turtle necks to hide where he would choke me until I had no breathe, sunglasses to hide my black eyes and on some days I didn’t go to school to hide the bruises that couldn’t be covered by clothing, I missed more school than anyone in my class, for that my father would abuse me even more, act like it was all my fault and I deserved it. But I didn’t
Four different psychiatrists, one psychologist and 10 licensed councillors, the docs rang six times but my sister denied everything to stop father going back to jail. She was the favourite and never got hurt; something happened I was the one who got the blame. I got out early thankfully, but not early enough to repair my life. I got comments on how I was improving, but not to many, I still sit by myself drawing, writing and reading.
Personal story 2
For someone who is a teenager I have been through a lot in my life already. I have always had to take care of myself because my family never properly looked after me. My dad treated me shockingly right from when I was a baby. He would bait me, even as a small kid he used to hit me and then say 'come on, hit me, stand up and be a man' and I would try to hit back and he'd belt me twice as hard. He used to kick or hit me if I didn't do what I was told. So I learnt to go along with whatever he said, and to keep out of his way. Mum would just yell at me 'don't get him mad, it's your fault you should do what he says'. I started to believe that everything was my fault. When I was about 13 I started drinking heavily and smoking pot every day. I also used whatever drugs I could get, just to get out of it, so I didn't have to think about anything. I wagged just about every day, until the school told my parents and my dad bashed me up so bad to punish me. I hated school because I was always in trouble for having fights with other kids or with the teachers. But also I hated being at home. I used to stay over at friend's houses, and sometimes I would sleep out in car parks. The more I stayed away, the more scared I was of going back home; because I knew I would get belted for running away. I started sleeping in the city, in doorways or wherever, and hanging out with other kids there. It still was better than going home. After a while I went to a youth support service and they got me into a refuge. Some of the workers there are cool and you feel like someone cares about you for once. They went in to Centrelink with me and helped me get some money. They helped me organise my life more.
Types of abuse!
Emotional abuse is when a parent constantly puts their child down, including name calling, saying they don’t love them.
Neglect is when a parent doesn't look after their child’s needs. Like cooking meals, washing clothes.
Physical abuse includes when a family hits, bashes, or physically injures them.
Sexual abuse is when someone, makes another person do sexual things.
Any of these can happen all in one or one at a time. Each worse than each other.
How to detect abuse
Physically abused children may be:
Watchful, cautious or wary of adults
Unable to play and be spontaneous
Aggressive or abusive
Bullying other children or being bullied themselves
Unable to concentrate, underachieving at school and avoiding activities that involve removal of clothes, i.e. swimming
Having temper tantrums and behaving thoughtlessly
Lying, stealing, often absent and getting into trouble with authority
Finding it difficult to trust other people and make friends.
Sexually abused children may:
Suddenly behave differently when the abuse starts
Think badly of themselves
Not look after themselves
Use sexual talk or ideas in their play that you would usually see only in someone much older
Withdraw into themselves or be secretive
Under-achieve at school
Start wetting or soiling themselves
Be unable to sleep
Behave in an inappropriately seductive or flirtatious way
Be fearful, frightened of physical contact
Become depressed and take an overdose or harm themselves
Run away, become promiscuous or take to prostitution
Drink too much or start using drugs
Develop an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
Emotionally abused or neglected children may:
Be slow to learn to walk and talk
Be very passive and unable to be spontaneous
Have feeding problems and grow slowly
Find it hard to develop close relationships
Be over-friendly with strangers
Get on badly with other children of the same age
Be unable to play imaginatively
Facts and statistics
1. Domestic violence is common in Australia - in fact 1 in 4 teenagers have seen an incident of physical violence by one parent towards another
2. In an Australian survey, almost two-thirds of teenagers who lived in families where one parent was abusing the other had told someone about it.
3. People with disabilities are sometimes abused by the very people who care for them.
4. Over 80% of children killed or seriously hurt through neglect or abuse were not on England’s child protection registers.
5. Every 6 hours a child dies in the united states due to abuse or neglect
6. Child abuse is an American epidemic. In 2005, more than 3.5 million children were reported as victims of child abuse or neglect.
7. Child abuse kills more children in America than accidental falls, choking on food, suffocation and fires in the home.
8. In 2005, 1,460 children died from abuse or neglect
9. 564,500 suffered neglect
10. 149,000 were physically abused
11. 83,500 were sexually abused
12. 64,000 were psychologically or emotionally abused
13. One in every 3-4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before 18, 70-90% are family and friends
14. 62% of pregnant and parenting teens were raped
15. Neglected and abused children are 59% more likely to be arrested as teenagers and 30% more likely to commit a violence crime as adults
16. 8 out of 10 abused children are abused by their own parents
17. Child abuse is a cycle 1/3 abuses or neglected children will eventually victimise their own children
Why abuse happens!
The person who is doing the abuse knows what they're doing is wrong (even if they act like they don't know).
They don't have to act this way.
There are no excuses for treating someone else badly.
Being drunk or angry is no excuse for hurting someone else.
Often the person who is the target of the abuse is blamed for it. You may have heard people say things like 'she asks for it' or 'why does she put up with it?' but for the person being abused, it's very difficult to know how to handle it.
They always want to get their own way without having to compromise.
They blame other people for their own problems and behaviour.
They get lots of attention from family members who try to keep them calm.
They want to hurt or humiliate someone else.
They have very traditional attitudes about what it means to be male and female. They think that men have to be the 'boss' of the household, and that the woman should obey the man.
With sexual abuse, they want to hurt or humiliate someone else, or to use them for their own sexual desires, without caring what the other person wants.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, Australian responses to children in need were significantly influenced by the belief that such children posed a threat to society. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, child welfare legislation states that 'the best interests of the child must always be paramount' (children, youth and families act 2005, Victoria). This paper surveys some of the local and overseas influences which directed child welfare practice and policy towards a philosophy in which the wellbeing of the child is central. It suggests that the concept of the child's personal welfare influenced the understandings of welfare officials long before the term 'best interests' was widely employed, but also that this transition in thought did not necessarily correlate with marked improvements in the outcomes for children within the welfare system.
Throughout history, abuse has known no social bounds. Anyone has been potentially liable. There is far less child abuse today than was inflicted on children in the past. However, occurrences of child abuse continue in outbreak sizes. Certain societies have historically continued a power difference and have systemically supported child abuse. The people responsible for it often look for positions and situations of power. The very people, who should be trusted, have often been the individuals who committed the abuses.
My name is Sarah I am but three,
my eyes are swollen I cannot see.
I must be stupid; I must be bad,
what else could have made my daddy so mad?
I wish I were better, I wish I weren't ugly,
then maybe my Mommy would still want to hug me.
I can't speak at all, I can't do a wrong
or else I'm locked up all the day long.
When I awake I'm all alone
The house is dark my folks aren't home.
When my Mommy does come I'll try and be nice,
so maybe I'll get just one whipping tonight.
Don't make a sound! I just heard a car
my daddy is back from Charlie's Bar.
I hear him curse my name he calls
I press myself against the wall.
I try and hide from his evil eyes
I'm so afraid now I'm starting to cry.
He finds me weeping he shouts ugly words,
he says its my fault that he suffers at work.
He slaps me and hits me and yells at me more,
I finally get free and I run for the door.
He's already locked it and I start to bawl,
he takes me and throws me against the hard wall.
I fall to the floor with my bones nearly broken,
and my daddy continues with more bad words spoken.
'I'm sorry!' I scream but its now much too late
his face has been twisted into unimaginable hate.
The hurt and the pain again and again
oh please God, have mercy! oh please let it end!
And he finally stops and heads for the door,
while I lay there motionless sprawled on the floor.
My name is Sarah and I am but three,
tonight my daddy murdered me.
The sound of her tormented tears
Just breaks my heart
The sound of her pleas, her fears
Tears my soul apart
Seeing that scared look upon her face
Always makes me cry
Knowing how she longs for a comforting embrace
That inside she yearns to die
Seeing the bruises, covering from head to toe
Breaks my heart even more
Knowing she's too afraid to go
Too frightened to walk out the door
Hearing her excuses, saying he'll change
Believing, one day, the abuse will end
Telling herself, it’s her, not him who's deranged
Convincing herself she doesn't need a friend
Telling herself time and time again
He's all she needs to live
Saying she loves him, and change him, she can
That she'll give him all she can give
That is she didn't always make him so mad
He wouldn't have to hit her anymore
It just makes me so sad
Knowing, he’ll eventually kill her for sure
Sadly, I look at her, as she continues to cry
And my heart just aches
And knowing that I can no longer deny
What it is that really makes my heart break
Is that the girl I'm looking at, but can't really see
Through my tears, in the mirror, is me.