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reality that an adult would severely abuse a child
is so overwhelming that people still do not believe
even the most conservative statistics. Social denial
and distancing contributes to the lack of a broad
scale social commitment to deal with child abuse issues
and concerns, only one of the costs of the tragedy
of child abuse.
Child abuse is
enormously costly to all of us. The repercussions
of child abuse place increased costs and burden on
the health care system, the social service system,
the educational system, the workplace, and the judicial
system. Social services for dealing with the treatment
of abuse are overburdened.
A history of child
abuse can be a contributing factor in relationship
and parenting problems, depression, suicide, self
injurious behavior, absenteeism, alcoholism, drug
abuse, smoking, food addictions, prostitution, crime,
violence, poverty and employment difficulties.
There is a loss
to society of the talents of survivors of child abuse.
Sadly most child
abusers were themselves abused as children. Fortunately,
the majority of those who were abused as children
do not repeat the cycle of violence.
abuse will ensure a healthier, better educated, more
productive, emotionally secure, loving and socially
responsive community. Prevention is much cheaper than
We must take personal responsibility for the safety
and care of children. Speak up and take action if
you see something suspicious or disturbing.
Listen to the histories
of survivors without shaming or blaming or prejudice.
However difficult it may be to listen to our histories,
it is a critical way in which you can help our healing.
abuse will guarantee a healthier, more educated, more
productive, more emotionally secure, more loving and
more socially responsive community.
SILENCE IS DEADLY
Death can be brought on by depression
self-destruction, if you allow it.
I wanted to talk to get relief, Inner peace;
but I was nervous about whether or not
I would be believed.
My children mean everything
My sweet, beautiful daughter Hope, I love you.
My handsome young boys; D.J. (Derek Jr), Tanner
and last but definitely not leave, Dakota, aka Dak.
All four just bring a smile to my face
and brighten my day.
How could someone want to
commit suicide with
four beautiful children, a loving wife, parents
that love and care about me, and a great and extremely
wonderful caring, sweet, giving grandmother
for whom I could never give her half of what
she has given me.
scales of justice
- Social Costs of Abuse
Survivors of abuse are less productive
as adults, suffering a great loss of self esteem and
huge costs to their personal health. They need considerable
access to all kinds of support systems.
Therapy for survivors is much more
cost effective on a societal level than dealing with
the impact of not receiving therapeutic support. A
history of child abuse can be a contributing factor
in relationship and parenting problems, depression,
suicide, self injurious behaviour, absenteeism, alcoholism,
drug abuse, smoking, food addictions, prostitution,
crime, violence, poverty and employment difficulties.
There is also a tremendous loss to society of the
talents of survivors. Prevention, or dealing with
the cause rather than the symptoms, is therefore much
more cost effective that treatment for these residual
In many cases, abuse leads to
difficulties with learning, and has been linked to
many learning disabilities. Adults note that after
receiving intervention and assistance relating to
their abuse, their ability to learn is greatly enhanced.
native art aboriginal art
There is an absence of the immediate
response to a child who is being abused. Parents suffer
feelings of guilt and responsibility. You do
not trust yourself as a parent. Abuse affects
a childs ability to form healthy relationships
with their siblings.
Children and parents are often unable
to discuss their mutual experiences of abuse. Sharing
provides a complete picture of what went on, and starts
the process of healing.
Abuse survivors are not mentally
ill, although they are often regarded as damaged
goods within the system. They often suffer chronic
pain such as migraines, chest pains and make constant
visits to doctors, where they receive medication for
their physical symptoms, even though the root cause
of their condition is not physical. Institutions have
not dealt well with this issue, resulting in a loss
of faith in our institutions.
It is hard not to see the abused child
as damaged goods, and to reduce expectations
of the child. Education is needed for the non-offending
parent(s). The stop acting like a victim
approach has gone too far. It is a also a myth that
survivors are permanently damaged.
needs to be communicated to the public?
Money is more efficiently used when
spent on prevention (without taking from present programs).
We need helping structures for children, such as the
Kids Help Phone, to be in place within the schools.
Abuse and protection must be a significant part of
a childs education.
We need to prevent situations where
a child has to talk to too many people in order to
Those who do not receive treatment
become a greater and increasing burden on society.
Governments need to be persuaded to tackle sexual
abuse as a critical issue. We need to be more proactive
on behalf of this issue. Offenders need to be held
more responsible for the consequences.
There is a need for clear identification
that smacking children and yelling at
them is abuse. People need to intervene when they
encounter these behaviours.
People on welfare are living under
many stresses (poverty, under education, lack of employment)
and need to be educated. The Baby Best Start Program
is one such program which could educate and assist
The SAFE-T Program (Sexual Abuse: Family
Education and Treatment) at Thistletown Regional Centre
reports ground breaking methods of treatment for adolescent
sexual offenders and their families that reduce sexual
assault recidivism (re-offending). SAFE-T provided
assessment and treatment, specialized training and
workshops, and research regarding adolescent sexual
offenders. Treatment at SAFE-T resulted in a 72% reduction
in sexual assault recidivism.
are covered by our health and social system? What
needs to be covered?
Abuse is not solely an issue for people
in poverty. One issue is that people who are better
off have greater access to wider helping resources.
However, therapy with a psychiatrist is paid for by
Psychologists and social workers need
to be covered. Psychiatrists need to be trained and
knowledgeable in this area. We need to do more than
medicate survivors. This course of action provides
real dangers. As an alternative, psychosynthesis deals
holistically with spirit, mind and soul. All care
providers need to be much more sensitive to the needs
of survivors. Also, at the point of intake, there
is a need for services for families of children who
do not disclose abuse to a specialist.
We must recognize that for survivors,
therapy can take a very long time. Everyone should
have the right to continue with a therapist whom he
or she trusts. Limited access, such as a six session
limit, is counterproductive and can be damaging to
the individual. In addition, enormous delays exist
in accessing suitable therapists.
At present it takes tremendous strength
to fight the system, a fight for which
many individuals do not have the strength.
Statistics exist. How do we package
and communicate them?
We must compare the costs of the medical
approach to abuse, versus the costs of a therapeutic
approach. We need to either generate or obtain the
statistics that will make an impact on the public
on this issue.
The issue of abuse has only been
public for about 20 years. The historic secrecy of
the issue (e.g. traumatized W.W.II veterans who returned
and were abusive to their families) has in part been
We need to make existing statistics
about child abuse accessible to the public. Even so,
most people do not believe even the most commonly
known statistics about abuse. There is a societal
desire to hand the issue of child abuse over to the
experts and be relieved of having to deal with it.
We need posters to show the face of
child abuse, that the dysfunctional adult contains
the abused child. We need to show the many faces of
child abuse so that it cannot be compartmentalized.
Things have not changed over the past
twenty years. How do we make this issue real?
ON SOCIAL COSTS OF ABUSE:
Bellfante, Ginia. Finding Trauma
Next Door: A Childs Murder Reveals A Separate
Tragedy: A Victim Turned Victimizer. Time (Can.
ed.), October 13, 1997, vol. 150 no. 15, p. 40-1..
Dryden, Ken. Hockey and the Fragility
of Trust: Sheldon Kennedys Courageous Revelations
Provoke More Anger Than Answers. Time (Can.
ed.), January 20, 1997, vol. 149 no. 3, p. 52.
Gaboury, Dennis and Elinor Burkett.
Secret of St. Marys: Thirty Years Ago,
Father James Porter Sexually Molested More Than 100
Rolling Stone, November 11, 1993,
vol. no. 669, p. 48-50, 52+.
Gaylor, Annie Laurie. Sins of
the Fathers: A Critique of Sexual Abuse of Children
By Clergy. Humanist In Canada, Winter 1992,
vol. 25, no. 4, p. 23-5.
Gelles, Richard J. The Book of David:
How Preserving Families Can Cost Childrens Lives.
New York: Basic Books, 1996.
Hankivsky, Olena and Lorraine Greaves.
The Costs of Violence: Another Piece of the
Puzzle. Empathetic Parenting, 1992, vol. 15,
no. 1-2, p. 24-42.
Junod, Tom. Last Angry Woman:
Helping Mothers Hide Their Children From Sexually
Abusive Fathers. Life, April 1991, vol. 14, no. 4,
p. 64-5, 67+.
Klein, Joe. Predator Problem:
The Secret Truth About Pregnant Teens Is That, All
Too Often, Theyre Victims of Sexual Abuse.
Newsweek, April 29, 1996, vol. 127 no. 18, p. 32.
Muller, Robert T., Robert A. Caldwell
and John E. Hunter. Factors Predicting the Blaming
of Victims of Physical Child Abuse or Rape.
Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, April 1994,
vol. 26, no. 2, p. 259-79.
Rodgers, Barbara and James R. Worling.
The SAFE-T Program: An Overview. Sexual Abuse: Family
Education & Treatment (Booklet) Published by Thistletown
Regional Centre for Children and Adolescents: Toronto.
Revised, March 1998.
Tervit, Trish. Victim was very
suicidal (death of Martin Kruze is the latest
tragedy of Maple Leaf Gardens Sex Abuses Scandal.
Hockey News, November 21, 1997, vol. 51 no. 11, p.7.
Worling, James R. and Tracey Curwen,
M.A. The Adolescent Sexual Offender Project: A 10-Year
Follow-up Study (Booklet) ) Published by Thistletown
Regional Centre for Children and Adolescents: Toronto.
Worling, James R. Adolescent
Sexual Offender Treatment at the SAFE-T Program.
In Sourcebook of Treatment Programs for Sexual Offenders,
353-364. William Lamont Marshall and others, ed. New
York and London: Plenum Press, 1998.
We only have childhood
once in our life.
Let us have a good
and healthy time.
It took 40 years of fear
before I was set free.
Stop the cycle of
Wipe out child abuse.
Uncover a buried smile.
Because every child
Deserves to smile
Stop the cycle.
Please speak out.
It's not your fault!!!
I was abused!
The cycle stopped
Listen to children.
Believe the Children.
Help the children.
My friends are nice.
Friends last forever,
help those who have
Believe in yourself
and have everyting.
A little light
goes a long way
for those who don’t feel
Family is everlasting
even if it’s not your
Everyone has someone
Help those who don’t
you are loved!
Chris and Eric
I'm so proud of you.
Together we can make
a difference and
Heal our hearts.
We have to be nice
to people and
make them happy.
Wen people are crying
I could cheer them up.
will be inside
It’s nice to have a
Be a friend.
Give a hand.
Hands for help.