Unfortunately, child abuse occurs in many places. Also in asylum seekers centres. Some parents have a lot of problems. They have been through a lot, often in the country they fled. They have a lot of stress. Sometimes they abuse their children because of this. Sometimes hitting is 'normal' in another country. This isn’t normal in the Netherlands. Hitting a child is prohibited here, and so is calling them names. Child abuse
What is it?Child abuse means that someone is hurting you. Someone older than you. For instance by hitting or pinching. But also by saying nasty things to you. This is also abuse. Neglect is also a form of abuse. You then, for instance, don’t get any food or attention. Or if someone forces you to have sex, this is also child abuse. All this is prohibited. This is written in the law.
What to do?If you are abused what can you do? Tell someone you trust. For instance your teacher or your mentor at school, a kind neighbour or someone of the COA. You can also call the Children’s helpline. This is an organisation that talks to children every day. Also about their problems. You can call free of charge. The number is 116111. You don’t have to say your name. Between 2 pm and 8 pm you can also chat with the Children’s helpline. This is talking via the computer, which is sometimes easier than calling. You can also call the child abuse report and advice centre. This is an organisation that ensures that child abuse stops. The number is 0900 123 12 30. You don’t have to give your name when you call.
Child abuse reporting codeThere is a child abuse reporting code. The reporting code lists what needs to be done. If the COA member of staff thinks you are being abused then he or she has to do what this code says, so children are no longer abused. What they have to do:
- Write down why he or she thinks you are being abused.
- Consult with a colleague or the child abuse report and advice centre.
- See you to ask what’s going on.
- See how bad the abuse is. What is happening exactly and how often?
- Decide whether something should be done or report the abuse.
Tell someone you are being abused. It won’t stop by itself.This is important:
- What does telling someone that your parents abuse you do? Your parents won’t go to prison and you won’t be taken away from them. It does mean that there will be help. For you and your parents. For instance, someone visits and talks with your parents, or with you.
- You can then make arrangements. What needs to happen. And you’ve already told someone your story. Someone you trust. This person can be there too. You can for instance arrange not to tell your parents yet that help is coming.
- How can abuse stop? It’s often necessary to let your parents know that you are talking to someone about the abuse. How to do this: you can make arrangements about this. Someone can go with you when you tell them. You can also wait a few days. You will get help from the person you are talking about the abuse with. This person can tell you more about how to do this.
- What’s most important is that you get help. This often comes from the Youth Care organisation (Jeugdzorg). Below you can find more information.
Help if you are being abusedWhat can Youth Care do if your parents abuse you? They can often visit you and your parents to talk to you. They can decide that your parents need to talk with a psychologist. Youth Care can also decide to let parents and children live separately for a while. For instance if the abuse is very bad or if there’s no improvement.
Also for youAll children in the Netherlands can get help from Youth Care. You too. There are extra rules for you: Sometimes Youth Care lets children live away from their parents for a while. They then usually go to foster parents. You aren’t simply taken to foster parents unless it’s very important for you to live with foster parents instead of in a relief centre.
Youth Care can do various things:
- Youth Care can visit you frequently to talk with you and your parents. You will then get a family guardian who checks how things are going at home.
- Youth Care can decide that you can’t live at home for a while if things are really bad. You then go to a relief centre. More children live here. This only happens if being at home is too dangerous for you or if things aren’t improving after talks with Youth Care.
- Instead of going to a relief centre, you can also go to foster parents. These are people who look after you for a short period. You only go to a foster family if this is really necessary.
- Youth Care can give your parents a parenting course.
- You and/or your parents can also get therapy. You then, for instance go to a psychologist or therapist. He or she helps you solve the problems.