What should I do if a child tells me about violence?

If you have experienced violence, or that someone has been subjected to violence you can contact the police on 112, however, you are obliged to contact child protection in such cases.

A few helpful points if a child reveals violence:

 

What shall I do?

  • believe the child
  • make sure the child is safe
  • contact child protection

 

It is important:

  • for the child that it feels right to have told on the violence
  • explain to the child that the violence is not their fault
  • remember that your response matters greatly for the future – how the child will deal with the consequences of the violence.

Your duty to report

If you know about, even suspect, that a child is subject to violence you have to contact child protection services.

The following article is from section IV,  Notification and other obligations to child protection authorities, Child Protection Act, No. 80/2002.

Article 16

Public duty of notification.

[All persons shall be obliged to notify a child protection committee if they have reason to believe that a child:

  1. is living in unacceptable circumstances of upbringing,
  2. is exposed to violence or other degrading treatment or
  3. is seriously endangering his/her health and maturity.

Furthermore, all persons are obliged to notify a child protection committee if there is reason to believe that the health or life of an unborn child is being endangered due to the unacceptable or dangerous life-style of an expectant mother, e.g. in the form of alcohol abuse or the consumption of drugs, or when an expectant mother is exposed to violence, or if there is reason to suspect that an expectant mother is exposed to violence, or of any incidents which may be regarded as falling within the child protection committee’s concerns.] 1) 1) Act No. 80/2011, Article 7.

Article 17

Duty of notification by those who deal with children.

[All persons involved in matters concerning children or expectant mothers, through their position or occupation, are obliged to notify a child protection committee, if they become aware of circumstances as described in Article 16.] 1)

Pre-school heads and teachers, child-minders, school heads, teachers, clergy, physicians, dentists, midwives, nurses, psychologists, social workers, developmental therapists, [career councelors] 1) and those providing social services or counselling are under an especial obligation to monitor the behavior, upbringing and conditions of children as far as possible, and to inform the child protection committee if the child’s circumstances appear to be of the nature described in the first paragraph.

The duty of notification provided in this Article takes precedence over provisions in law or codes of ethics on confidentiality within the relevant professions. 1) Act No. 80/2011, Article 8.

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