What Can You Do?


Schools are on the frontline when it comes to supporting children and young people, who might be victims of maltreatment. Teachers are ideally placed to recognize and respond to early signs of physical and emotional abuse. Janek’s teacher tried to help him. Can you think of anything else that she could do in that situation? What would you have done in her place?

Children who are physically or emotionally abused may exhibit challenging, disruptive, unfocussed, controlling and/or aggressive behaviours. Try to see beyond it and identify the root causes of such behaviour. What can help you in this task?

At an organisational level:

  • All staff working with children should get dedicated and regular training in relation to child abuse and the relevant legal system in your country
  • Make sure your school has appropriate child protection and reporting procedures in place
  • Make sure the school staff are aware of locally available services and resources which provide support for victims of abuse
  • Facilitate regular staff discussion in relation to child protection issues

Within your classroom:

  • Educate children on basics of child abuse prevention
  • Enhance children’s social skills
  • Talk to children about their feelings and needs
  • Make sure children know who they can talk to when they experience
  • Have educational materials on the issue available for children
  • Engage with the children’s caregivers, offer them education or refer them to support services
  • Have educational materials available for parents
  • Take seriously any signs that a child may give you indicating that they might be being abused

Many countries have a mandatory reporting system. But even if is not so for your country, TAKE ACTION! Sometimes no one else may know about the child’s suffering. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! YOU CAN SAVE A CHILD!

To report child abuse, you do not need absolute certainty and sometimes you will not be able to be certain that you are right. There are other services that are obliged to investigate and secure proof. All you need is a reasonable suspicion. Trust your experience and intuition!