Child Sexual Abuse Within Institutions

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Numerous problems are connected with the issue of child sexual abuse. It is both a public health problem and a children’s rights issue. Child sexual abuse refers to any act by a person using their authority or power over a child or young person to engage them in any form of sexual activity (DEECD and DHS, 2010). Victims of sexual abuse suffer serious psychological and physical consequences. This paper discusses the factors which facilitate or prevent the identification and reporting of child sexual abuse within institutions. The paper also analyses the framework for strengthening child protection practices in schools by increasing the capacity of the professionals for proactive work towards creating child safe organisations. DEECD and DHS, 2010 Physical evidence: Certain physical signs like ‘injury to the genital or rectal areas’, bleeding or discharge from vaginal or rectal areas and ‘bruising and other injury to breasts, buttocks and thighs’ may be present because of sexual abuse. Some children may wear extra layers of clothing to hide their injuries and may refuse to remove excess clothing in hot weather. ‘Presence of foreign bodies in vagina and/or rectum’, inflammation in the genital area and sexually transmitted diseases are also strong indicators of sexual abuse. Pregnancy in very young adolescents forms a strong ground for suspicion of sexual abuse. Sexually explicit behaviour: A child showing age inappropriate sexual knowledge or engaging in age
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