Campaign launched to raise awareness of child abuse risk for children under 12 months
Readers should be advised that this article deals with the topic of child abuse, which some may find distressing, and are encouraged to use their best judgement in relation to reading this piece.
Australian children under the age of 12 months of age are twice as likely to be abused or neglected than any other age group, child protection organisation Act for Kids has said, in launching the ‘I love Mondays’ campaign.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the long term impact of abuse and neglect on children, and to gather funds to support children across the country deal with trauma.
CEO Dr Neil Carrington emphasised the importance of the campaign as Australia navigates COVID-19, during which vulnerable children are in close contact with families who may be experiencing higher levels of stress compared with life prior to the pandemic.
“In other countries where COVID-19 is more advanced, the number of reports involving vulnerable children are up by as much as 300 per cent,” Dr Carrington said, saying the organisation is preparing for “a tsunami of child abuse cases” in coming weeks and months.
Unfortunately, he said, the demand for Act for Kids services is growing as more children are trapped in homes that are not safe, leaving children who are developmentally unable to verbalise their thoughts and emotions at extreme risk.
Act for Kids has 28 therapy and support centres around Australia, where therapists work with children who have experienced trauma from birth. Often children begin therapy after suffering years of physical and emotional abuse, or witnessing severe domestic violence and drug abuse, including Ice.
Through a range of therapies and psychological supports, children are given skills to overcome the trauma and engage in healthy relationships and education.
If left untreated, Dr Carrington said, abuse in childhood can result in debilitating, long-term consequences including mental health problems, unemployment, difficulty developing and maintaining healthy relationships, eating disorders and obesity, alcohol and substance abuse, and even suicidal behaviour later on in life.
More information about the work undertaken by Act for Kids may be found here.