There is a number of definitions of child abuse and neglect (medical, psychological, social-protective, legal). Defining the meaning of child abuse and neglect, it is important to take into account two assessments: parental/carer behaviours on one, and impact on the child on the other hand. Child abuse includes everything individuals, institutions or processes do or fail to do, which directly or indirectly harms the child or imposes risks for his/her healthy and safe development into adulthood.
Disclosure of a sexual abuse is a process. Sexually abused children rarely tell the whole story at once. They tell parts of the story because they are not sure if it is safe to tell more. They need to feel that they are trusted before they disclose more details. Children are pretty good at recognising if it is safe to talk to adults. However, sometimes children will talk even when they do not feel safe and when adults are trying to convince them of the opposite.
Here are some advices for parents how to act if their child is sexually abused in form of answers to the most important questions about going to the police, court of justice and media.
In order to provide the best possible child protection, it is necessary to distinguish between myths and facts about sexual abuse and sexual perpetrators. The most common myth is that parents and adults should be able to recognise a sexually abused child. The fact is, however, that children show various signs and that the majority of parents and adults are not familiar with them and with their meaning.