SPEAKING on the International Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse today Fine Gael Cork Senator, Deirdre Clune, called on Irish citizens to make themselves more aware of the signs associated with child abuse.
Senator Clune made this call upon returning from a meeting of the European Council Committee of Social and Family Affairs, of which she is a member.
The Committee met in Florence, Italy this week to discuss the prevention of child sexual abuse throughout Europe.
“Ninety per cent of abuse happens in the home and the community.
“Those who sexually abuse children are from all backgrounds and most abusers have not been convicted of any sexual abuse offences.
“Therefore it is essential that citizens stay alert to any possible indicators of this heinous crime.
“The Programme for Government clearly outlines the Government’s commitment to child protection by putting the Children First Guidelines on a statutory footing and fully implementing the recommendations of the Ryan Report.
“However, there is a limit to what politicians can do as only 10 per cent of child sexual abuse cases come before protective services.
“One of the principle ways in which this abuse comes to light is through the suspicions of an adult.
“It is vigilant parents, friends, teachers and community workers who will make the real difference to the lives of children who are being abused.
“The Children First 2011 publication by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs lists possible indicators of child sexual abuse which include a noticeable and uncharacteristic change in behaviour; bleeding from the vagina/anus; Self-harming. A full list of indicators are available from www.cnci.ie/ChildrenFirst.pdf.
“It is incumbent upon us all to make sure that our children are protected and safe from harm. By ensuring that the correct legislation is in place and that we, as individuals, are mindful of the signs, we can all work together to eliminate child abuse,” she said.