More emphasis needed on sexual abuse awareness for men – ChildLink

Activist group, ChildLink recently outlined the need for more educational programs to be conducted to target men, as it was found that a large number of abusers are unaware that their actions are inappropriate.
According to the group which conducted research on Child Sexual Abuse, a grave need exists for educational programs for men and boys specifically as a majority of the abusers are men.
It said male members of the child’s immediate or extended family, such as a father or stepfather, uncle, step-uncle or cousin, a brother-in-law or grandfather make up the second largest category of abusers which accounted for 40 per cent of those reported cases.
ChildLink reported that the males who oftentimes abuse their relatives are mostly of the view that they are entitled to have sexual access to any of the females in their sphere. As such, the report noted, “Boys and men need to be educated about appropriate sexual boundaries and the harms of sexual abuse. They also need to understand the illegality of these acts and be educated on the seriousness of the offences”.
On another note, when it comes to dealing with children and sexual abuse, the organisation pointed out that there is also a grave need for the implementation of more Health and Family Life Modules which would generally place emphasis on younger children disclosing or ‘telling’ of abuse including sexual abuse and know about “good and bad and inappropriate touching”.
The report compiled by ChildLink went further to say that all children who have been sexually abused need emotional support and should be referred for trauma counselling even if the abuse may have taken place years ago.
“Children should be encouraged to tell their stories in an environment where professionals are skilled to communicate with children and that children are not interrogated or have to confront the abusers or tell their stories over and over,” the agency stated. The report found that stepfathers accounted for 12.4 per cent of the cases reported, fathers 6.8 per cent and brothers 6.2 per cent.
According to ChildLink, “in 2014, there were 3883 reported cases of child abuse to the Child Care and Protection Agency, 628 (16 per cent) were child sexual abuse cases. In 2017, the CCPA report reflected a total of 4179 cases of abuse with 841 (20 per cent) of those cases being child sexual abuse. In a period of three years (2014-2017), there has been an increase of 5 per cent of reported child sexual abuse cases”.