How can young people be better protected?
Shikesh Sorathia joined VCF for his two-week placement as part of The Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme in March 2014. His article below offers views on how young people can be better protected:
Young people who are going through emotional, physical, sexual abuse or neglect need to be better protected in order for them to feel safe, and supported to heal from their experiences.
During my placement at The Victoria Climbié Foundation, I surveyed 10 young people like myself and the responses I received were interesting, shocking and surprising.
10 out of 10 people felt that young people are neglected by the system, and 8 out of 10 people believe that parents are not aware of the laws regarding child protection. It seems to be because they may not have been involved within the child protection system or a neighbour may have filed a report where the social services have visited the home and taken the child away, however they have not explained the procedures and laws so this would leave the parents confused about what has happened and how they can get their child back.
For a number of years, I have been listening to individuals who are survivors of abuse where their abuser has not been prosecuted which could be for a number of reasons. One main reason would be because the survivor had been abused as a child and only spoke out when they were much older. I continue to hear the same views on one particular question which I always ask each survivor. “If your abuser was locked behind bars, would you be able to cope better?” They all have answered “yes”
Why are professionals not seeing children who are going through extreme abuse? Could this be because when a social worker visits a home, everything looks normal?
In the case of one young child suffering severe neglect, when the social worker visited the home, the mother would act happy with her child and the social worker could see nothing wrong within the home although the child was beaten, not fed, not washed, locked in a cage for more than 2 days. The child was neglected from the age of 5 and later abused until he was a little older where he found the strength to run away from home.