Unit 1. The Context for Children
Unit 2: Understanding child abuse
Unit 3: Understanding child safeguarding
Unit 4: Safeguarding concerns and abuse

2.1: Child abuse – attitudes and values

Child abuse – attitude and values

Child abuse is a complex subject. It challenges some of our basic beliefs about the world, for example, that a parent, or someone working for a faith-based organisation, would ever harm a child. We may assume that people who work with organisations set up to help children because they have humanitarian beliefs – they want to help children – and surely they would never harm a child /young person accessing a service? It is hard for us to accept that any of these people might abuse a child because it would be so terrible if they did.

Opinions about abuse are varied: what might be abusive in one person’s view may not be seen that way by another. Some key questions to ask ourselves and others include:

  • Where does your belief about the statement you agreed, or disagreed, with come from? Why do you believe this? 
  • What does it mean for you to hold on to this belief? 
  • How might this belief influence or affect how you respond to a child you are concerned about?

It is important to remember that we all use our own personal experiences, values and attitudes when making judgements about abusive behaviour.