Although awareness of child abuse is growing, there are still a lot of misconceptions. Unfortunately, some of these create a climate whereby victims are reluctant to come forward, so it is important that where possible the facts are presented. Here are some of the most common myths, and the facts on each issue.
Social services will remove a child from their home if you report concerns.
Actually, social services do all they can to keep children safe within their home environment. There is more information about the child protection system in the UK available from the NSPCC – https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-protection-system/england/.
It’s only considered child abuse if there is physical or sexual abuse going on.
There are other kinds of abuse, including neglect and emotional abuse, and children may be subjected to more than one.
Children often lie about abuse.
It’s rare for a child to make up a story about being abused. In fact, children may be reluctant to talk having been told by their abuser they won’t be believed.
Abuse doesn’t happen to people like us/in places like this.
Children are abused by all sorts of people, in all sorts of places. Race, religion, social class or geographic location are no protection from abusers.
Children have lots of people they can turn to, to report abuse.
This isn’t the case. Children are often very reluctant to talk about abuse, and their abusers may have told them they would not be believed or made the child feel responsible for the abuse in some way.
Abusers are always men.
Although most sexual abuse is carried out by men, in as many as 10% of cases the abusers are women.
I would know an abuser. They are of low intelligence, low class and uneducated.
No. Abusers come from all walks of life. There is no one ‘type’ of abuser and you cannot tell just by looking at someone whether they are likely to abuse or not.
There’s no way to know if someone is an abuser.
If you carry out a crb check you will be able to find out whether a person has ever been convicted of an offence that would make them unfit to work with vulnerable people. The CRB check is also known as the DBS check.
Please share these facts when you next hear someone repeating a myth.