More often than not, the most trusting relationship a child has is with their parent/s. However, statistics also show that significant abuse is perpetrated within the family by a parent or a family member. Therefore, the non- perpetrating parent/s and family members need to be attuned to their child/ren and what they are saying as well as understanding the impact of the abuse they are suffering in order to know the signs to look out for to ensure their protection. The most common forms of child abuse are: physical, emotional and sexual abuse and domestic and family violence.
Stranger danger is an issue and it has been taught to parents and children across the western world since the 1970s. Whilst the issue of strangers abusing children is real, statistics show that such abuse constitutes about 10-15 percent of child abuse in our society as a maximum estimate.
As such it is vitally important for parents, family members and friends to pay attention to what children say and how they respond to people really close to them. Children are really good at giving signals and telling the truth even if they don’t overtly tell you what is happening. If your child’s behaviour changes suddenly it is important to ask them why and let them know you will hear what they have to say to you without any consequences to them. Children often tell you what is happening through their behaviour such as silence or tantrums, drawings or statements that may or may not make much sense at the time. Trust your instincts, your ‘gut’ and stay close to your child/ren whilst hearing everything they say. If something doesn’t feel right sometimes it isn’t. Children are really good at giving insight into what they feel is and isn’t right for them. Pay attention.
Often parents who find out their child has been harmed report that they knew something wasn’t right. Just like children adults don’t always have the words but they sense something. Such a sense of something not feeling ok won’t stand up in court but it may protect your child until further information comes to hand. When in doubt – trust your child, trust yourself and seek assistance.
The following websites and resources outline child abuse, neglect and interventions:
Fact sheets and resources:
What is Child Abuse and Neglect?
The Australian Institute of Family Studies fact sheet provides clear information on the types of child abuse and neglect.
Information and Support for families and their children:
NAPCAN - for all the fact sheets, brochures for parents, families, organisations and posters too!
Educational and support apps for adults and children
The Queensland Government’s child and family reform program
The program is focused on delivering the right services at the right time to support families to keep children safely at home.
The reforms will also improve responses to children in out-of-home care so they can enjoy their childhood, feel safe and cared for and develop into independent adulthood. To find out more visit:
Australian Childhood Foundation facts and information:
Responding to disclosures of child sexual abuse:
Queensland Domestic & Family Violence fact sheets:
True relationships and reproductive health Information and Resources:
Daniel Morcombe Foundation:
Assistance for parents with a child with a disability:
Children and Young people’s rights:
Charter of rights books describe the core rights that apply to every child and young person who is subject to the custody or guardianship of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. The Charter of rights books are distributed to all young people entering care in Queensland and include:
Finding out about child protection in Queensland
The Family Relationship Advice Line: 1800 050 321
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Parentline: 1300 30 1300 from 8am-10pm, 7 days a week.