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Something is Happening – Child Abuse

Date 7th January 2018

Child Abuse is it anyone’s responsibility

It is everyone’s responsibility


Global Hyub

In all the noise could you hear a cry for help?

Hearing the Child Abuse Cry for Help is Not Always a Simple Task

Did you and your family have a happy Christmas Season? The season of goodwill toward men. When the world celebrates their own meaning of the Christmas Message,

Somewhere there were no Jingle Bells or the sound of Christmas Songs. Or, the joy and laughter of opening the wrapping paper of toys.

Somewhere there was darkness and pain.

A Cry for Help that Counsellors the world over must tune their ears to hear!  


Europe the Child Abuse Hub but not for Celebration!

A report suggests Europe is the global hub for the hosting of child sexual abuse images and videos.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), found that 60% of worldwide abuse material was now in Europe.  An increase of 19%.

The Netherlands topped the list of European nations. For hosting the illegal content, said the IWF.

Reporting and policing by net firms in North America have reduced their share.

“The situation is reversed from previous years.” said Susie Hargreaves the Chief Executive of the IWF. “Europe is now the biggest host of child sexual abuse imagery. Rather than North America.”

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is the UK body that acts to find and remove abuse content.

The child abuse Hub where Demand is Escalating 

Any dark cloud in America will soon reach the European Mainland. In 2015 according to IWF figures around 57% of child abuse filled web pages could be found in North America. Just one year later that had dropped to 31% because that cloud had reached the hungry shores of Europe. Europe had taken 20% of the American share leaving America with 31%.

This is not through there being less web pages to in North America. There demand still rose. But such was the demand in Europe that European growth outstripped that of America.

Is this a cloud to be proud of?

Where the majority of sexual web pages sharing obscene images is found.

Some 34,212 web pages found. To be depicting these images across Europe including Russia and Turkey.

Could the reduction in North America be that criminals were forced to look elsewhere. To find hosts that would let them upload and share their content.

The change was a “remarkable indication of the work being done by US ISPs. To identify, remove and report the content”, said John Shehan. Shehan is vice-president of (NCMEC). The exploited children division of the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

American laws require ISPs to inform the authorities when finding images on their networks. This had driven a steep rise in reports to NCMEC.

Bar chart showing distribution of abuse content


There were over 4.4 million reported in 2015. In 2016, 8.2 million. In the first part of 2017 when these figures were collated more then 2 million pages reported.

The use of classification systems that produces a unique identifier. Known as a hash, for each piece of content. This can then used to see if any image or video uploaded depicts abuse.

The hashes dramatically help abuse victims by reducing the amount of victimisation that occurs. When images recirculated and traded online.

Few European firms that rent servers or web space sought out images of abuse. This could also help to explain the shift identified by the IWF.

Arda Gerkens, a Dutch MP who helps to oversee the nation’s anti-abuse hotline. Dhe said it too had seen an rise in the number of reports to ISPs about material both in 2016 and 2015.

But, said Ms Gerkens, there had been no change in European policy over the last 12 months. That would account for the shift.

A spokeswoman for the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) commented.  Work to find out what stops offenders viewing child sexual abuse images had to expand.

“We must never forget that there is a victim behind every child sexual abuse image,” she added. “Every time these horrific pictures are viewed a child is reabused. Anyone who seeks out this material is complicit in fuelling this appalling industry.”


Global Hub

In all the noise could you hear a cry for help?

Coaching and bullying can reach out to a child from many areas just out of the sight of adults. The excuse, children cannot be watched 24 hours a day. 

Even with an increase in reports going to the police. Child abuse is growing exponentially across Europe year-on-year.  We know that those reported represent just the tip of the ice-berg. For every case reported we do not know how many go unreported for a variety of reasons. My research has revealed that a major factor in this issue is the use of language. A safeguarding system which is sometimes deaf to a child’s cry for help. Reasons including fear, shame and confusion. Also the abuser is so often a family member either with or without the knowledge of the other party. It is important that adults are aware of what may be symptomatic of sexual abuse.

We must all learn to be ever watchful of the potential indicators of sexual or physical abuse. Counsellors or teachers must be aware of the critical way that you talk with children. Attempting to disclose physical or sexual abuse. Not just in those who enter your therapy or classroom in search for help.

So often reaching out too late to a child’s cry for help.  This is why careful listening to children when they do reach out for help is crucial. To determine what action should be taken. If any at all.

Is the child who is showing classic signs of being bullied actually hiding a case of sexual or physical abuse also.  It sometimes takes great courage to listen and act in the best interest of a child. When the perpetrator of the physical or sexual abuse is the partner you love and have devoted your life to.

Amongst the reasons a cry for help is lost in the cacophony of sound that surrounds our everyday lives. Often the child does not make clear disclosure of facts and the full extent of the abuse they are suffering. They may minimise the extent of the abuse, and they may not convey the full story of their abuse.

Another reason may be the linguistic skill of the listener and that of the child.

During my research for this article. I read of cases where children will talk about the abuse they are suffering. For example one case notes, told of an 11-year old stating that she had been raped.  Another 15 year-old, attending therapy for a straight forward matter, said that she had sex with an older man. Only much later in the interview she declared that the sex act was nonconsensual. Once she declared that she went on to describe the details of the level of force that used. It was almost an hour in the session that she asked, had she been raped?

Importantly, in the latter case it was the skill of the counsellor that facilitated the disclosure. Helping the child to speak freely.  In this case the pressure shifted. From the child, being responsible for disclosing the facts, to the counsellor who supported her.

You can understand when a child approaches an adult trying to relate an event. Unless the adult is trained or at least instructed what signals to watch for. The cry for help can go unheard, or even dismissed. Sometimes the adult recognising their inabilities is afraid.  They may inadvertantly influence the facts in a negative way. More often in these cases the child is told to go away and make sure that they are not exaggerating. 

There is a marked difference in an allegation made in an anonymous counselling session to that of a disclosure to a teacher or social-worker. In a Child-Line counselling session, the focus is on supporting the child. By contrast, teachers and social workers are duty bound to report disclosures. Any statement that the child produces forms evidence. This may be used in later criminal proceedings.

In collecting information from a child the counsellor or teacher has to take care. Reporting only the words the child uses without using leading questions is difficult. But it can be necessary in collecting the information.

It is also understandable that a child may be unwilling to relate devastating facts to a stranger. They need help in constructing their evidence.

This creates a paradox if the counsellor or teacher is a total stranger. Regardless of age, a child may rely on the adult. Helping them uncover the depth of information required.

 While the gathering of evidence in this way must collect uncontaminated evidence. It fails those children who actually need the help of an adult to say the words they cannot express.

Adding to the complexity the child may not understand or want to follow our road to prosecution. What they do seek is emotional support and an end to a life changing experience.

They want the assurance that they did nothing wrong. 

They want clarification so they can begin to make sense of it and start their lives again

For as long as we place a burden on the quality of evidence, rather than helping the child.

Their voices will continue to be unheard.