Every five minutes, a child dies from violence. Every day, in every country, children are abused, beaten, raped and more.
Tragically, the perpetrator is usually someone the child knows and trusts. Too often, they work for an organization that’s meant to help children. A sports club, school, faith institution, not-for-profit organization or peacekeeping force. But they abuse their power and the child’s trust.
The most vulnerable children are most at risk – and least likely to have someone to turn to if they are abused. Children escaping conflicts or crises, experiencing discrimination or marginalization, or being separated from their family and community. Disabled children are almost four times more likely to be subjected to violence and neglect.
Abusers infiltrate organizations
Abusers gain positions of trust because no proper background checks are conducted. In some cases, perpetrators actually set up organizations, or work to infiltrate trusted institutions, in order to target children to abuse. In other cases they simply take advantage of the situation and the extreme imbalance of power.
Children have no way to Report Abuse
Often children do not understand their right to be safe and what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior from staff. If abuse occurs, they have no way of reporting it or reporting mechanisms are not child-friendly. For example, a five-year-old who has no access to the internet, and is unable to read or write, will not be able to call for help via an email address on a website. In many organizations, victims and survivors are ignored, blamed, shamed, intimidated or revictimized.
People are frightened to report concerns
In some organizations, there are no safe ways to report abuse. Staff are not trained on how to safeguard children and their obligation to report concerns. Or people are frightened to report because of bullying, discrimination, corruption, the fear of being fired or losing desperately needed support from the organization.
Leaders Protect Organizations, not Children
Powerful people and organizations are regarded as ‘untouchable‘ and allowed to abuse, or fail to respond appropriately to abuse, with impunity. Organizations fail to act on concerns, or even actively cover up abuse, in some cases for decades. Senior leaders do not recognize that their organization may be putting children at risk and, then when abuse does occur, act to protect the organization – not the child.
Closing the Gaps
Child abuse in organizations can be prevented, but abusers can and will exploit any gaps in an organization’s safeguarding framework. Contact our team for support if you are concerned about safeguarding in an organization, or if you would like to understand more about how to safeguard children.
What makes us special?
Keeping Children Safe USA has one goal:
to prevent crimes against children from happening in the first place.