What is child abuse and how to report it?
Child abuse is the maltreatment of a child or adolescent by a parent, guardian, or an individual responsible for the child’s welfare, such as a teacher or coach.
It can take various forms such as physical, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse. While normally considered an active process, child abuse also includes neglect, abandonment, and parental substance abuse. Child abuse can have a long-term effect on the health, well-being, and development of a child throughout their lifetime.
Child sexual abuse
This is another form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. It includes physical acts, whether through force, coercion, grooming, or implied force. A child cannot give consent to sex. This applies to sexual activity between an adult and a minor and might also include sexual activity between a significantly older and a younger child.
There is a multitude of helplines and hotlines that connect survivors, victims, and their support network with local resources.
What are helplines?
Helplines provide confidential advice and assistance to young people, adults, and carers. The European Commission supports the work of child helplines and views them as a vital component of the reporting system to combat the abuse and exploitation of youth. While the primary focus of a helpline is on children, they provide support to anyone that is worried about an endangered child or is seeking resources or more information regarding child abuse.
Individuals can get help by contacting their national helpline via email, the helpline’s online reporting form or via their open telephone line, free of charge. Lines are staffed with trained counsellors who offer support in a variety of ways, such as crisis intervention and referrals to emergency and social service resources.
What are hotlines?
Hotlines receive and investigate reports of suspected child abuse which include non-emergent incidents where the child is not in immediate danger.
INHOPE member hotlines provide the public with a way to anonymously report online material they suspect may be illegal, with a focus on CSAM. A hotline analyst will look at the report and decide if the video or images should be classified as child sexual abuse material (CSAM). A hotline’s work is not limited to CSAM but can also include other types of illegal content such as hate speech and online grooming. Furthermore, some hotlines also function as helplines and vice versa.
Submitting a report to a hotline typically takes place on a web-based form. You will need to include essential information about prospective illegal content like the content URL link and the country of location. You have the option to report anonymously or to provide your personal information like name and phone number. Therefore, if professionals investigate a case, they are not allowed to disclose who made the report.
The second you suspect that your child or a child you know is being abused, report it to your local police or emergency service.
Photo by INHOPE
If you'd like to learn more about topics like this, then
click here to sign up for INHOPE Insights and Events.