5 Ways to Safeguard Against Violence to Children

Worrisome Times

Earlier this week, a video purportedly showing a child caregiver molesting the little girl in her care went viral online, causing public outcry. This video was said to have been taken via a hidden camera installed by the child’s parents after the child was observed to have exhibited unusual behaviour – refusing food and showing signs of extreme fear. (Because we do not wish to offend sensibilities, we will not be posting the link to the video as it contains disturbing content.) This video brings to the fore a very real and critical concern concerning violence towards children.

The 21st century has brought with it a tide of change with respect to changing family structures. Increasing economic challenges mean that in most cases, both parents have to maintain jobs outside the home – thereby creating a gap in child care. In cases where grandparents or close relatives such as siblings are not available, parents need to resort to the services of part-time or live-in nannies to cater to child welfare. This practice is not without its inherent challenges. Tales of children being molested abound, and we believe there are many more undocumented cases of brutality towards children.

How then do parents balance their economic responsibilities with child care? Here are a few tips we believe will help to stem this unpleasant trend and at least help parents take appropriate steps towards ensuring their children are not exposed to abuse at the hands of their caregivers.

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  1. Check, check, check. In most cases, nannies and domestic staff are sourced through referrals – relatives, colleagues, friends, even  distant associates. Some of these staff are hired from outside town, or are “hand-me-downs” from other people no longer in need of their services. It is important therefore to carry out background checks on prospective domestic staff. Our lawyer friends advise that no domestic staff should be hired without a guarantor,a valid means of identity (or passport photos at the minimum) and a safety deposit equivalent to at least one month’s salary of the staff. Though tedious, these additional steps will serve to establish a valid identity which would come in very handy should any nasty situation arise.
  2. Be vigilant. Pay close attention to your children. What is their body language like around your domestic staff? Do they act normally or does there seem to be a semblance of withdrawal? Examine them physically. Are there signs of bruises, wounds or anything else out of the ordinary? Watch out for these signs, no matter how subtle. Trust your instincts – especially where your children are still too young to speak for themselves.
  3. Talk to your children. Become their confidant. Encourage them to tell you what has happened to them while you were away – establish a trust relationship with them that excludes the domestic staff. Teach them to be assertive and to always report their day – no matter how mundane the details may be. Listen actively to them (where they are of speaking age).
  4. Keep watch. Keep tabs on your home – phone calls and even unexpected return trips home (if time and circumstances allow). Don’t allow your domestic staff know your precise movements. In addition, where possible, get neighbours to help you keep watch over your children when you cannot be there.
  5. Sometimes, action needs to be more drastic. Studies show that children whose parents spend more time raising them grow into more well-rounded and intellectual adults. Having parents closer also translates to minimal chances of being molested by hired help. For some parents, this could mean dropping that full-time job and taking up part-time work for a while, for instance. Understandably this option may not be feasible for everyone (e.g. single-parent homes), but the key is examining your particular circumstance and working out a solution that serves the greater good of the family – especially the children. Keeping the bigger picture in mind would help parents at this point.

Our children are precious and beautiful. it is up to parents ad the community at large to safeguard their innocence.  Say NO to violence against children!

We care! Are you a parent or caregiver to children? Do you have any tips to share concerning protecting the safety of our children? Feel free to share below.

GIDITRAFFIC

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