The increasing cases of sexual abuse in daycares have not deterred parents from entrusting their toddlers and young children to organized child care. Almost one quarter or 23.4% of children aged five years old and below are in child care facilities like nurseries, daycare centers, or preschools. In 2017 alone, the reports received from Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies exceeded 4.1 million and involved 7.5 million children. Aside from sexual abuse, these reports also included neglect (both medical and otherwise), emotional abuse, and physical abuse. Of all perpetrators who worked in child care, above 20% committed sexual abuse. (d2l.org)
These facts alone may want you to stay away from child care facilities altogether. However, someone must take care of your children while you are at work. So, the answer to your problem is to educate yourself about daycare child abuse. The content below will help you do just that. You can also consult a sexual assault lawyer if you suspect something in your daycare, whether the victim is your child or not.
Knowing the Different Types of Abuse
Child abuse may not be easy to notice and difficult to understand. However, with some research and help, you will become aware of what to look out for. Below are the different types of abuse you should know of:
- Physical Abuse – This happens when a daycare provider or child’s parent hits or hurts a kid in any way.
- Sexual Abuse – This occurs when somebody forces a kid to perform a sexual act or does it on a child. This includes touching a child’s private areas such as the penis, breasts, or vagina.
- Emotional Abuse – This is when a parent or somebody else treats a kid in ways that will make them bad about themselves or feel unwanted, especially when it affects their learning, behavior, and normal development. This may include frequent blaming, harsh criticism, and making the child feel like they were never wanted or good enough.
- Shaken Baby Syndrome – This type of abuse happens when somebody shakes a baby forcefully or is too rough in handling them. This is the most common way for a child to get a brain injury or die.
Kids have rights, too. They have the right to be protected from any kind of abuse. So, if you suspect your child or anybody else’s kid to have been abused in any way, then you need to report it or contact a lawyer right away.
Signs Your Child is Experiencing Daycare Child Abuse
Now that you already have a basic idea of the types of abuse that can be inflicted on kids, know that all these can happen in daycare and that each kind carries its physical symptoms or behaviors. This is exactly why you need to keep an eye on your kids and to look out for odd behavior or any other symptom of abuse. Below are the common signs of neglect and daycare abuse you should be on the lookout for:
- Changes in behavior – This happens when a kid becomes shy, withdrawn, depressed, or shows signs of shame or guilt even for small misdeeds. On the other hand, they could also become more aggressive and will kick, scratch, or bite at the slightest provocation.
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, or other injuries – These are the most noticeable signs of abuse. Their sudden appearance during pick-up may indicate physical abuse, especially if they appear on the buttocks, back of the legs, shoulders, neck, arms, or wrists. Plus, if your child suddenly gets into the habit of flinching at a raised hand or before any sudden movements, or cowering when touched, then this is another clear indication of physical abuse.
- Regression – When a kid is experiencing any kind of traumatic abuse, they may suddenly show regressive behavior, which includes sudden fear of the dark, bedwetting, clinginess, thumb sucking, or excessive crying. Regression is often caused by sexual or verbal abuse.
- Hunger and thirst during pickup – This may indicate plain neglect or deprivational abuse, depending on whether not giving food and drink was intentional or just plain forgetfulness.
- Recurring nightmares – When a child is being tormented at school or in daycare, then they may experience difficulty in sleeping at night because of nightmares. Daycare workers may torment kids by wearing scary masks or something else terrifying and this could have lingering effects.
- Soiled diapers and long-lasting diaper rashes – This is a clear indication of neglect, especially when it happens daily. A diaper rash that persists for a long time could mean that your kid’s diaper is not regularly changed while they are in daycare.
- Unusual interest in sexual behaviors – Sexual abuse in daycare may manifest in a child’s sudden ability and knowledge about sex. This is because their sexual abuser exposed them to it. If this happens to your kid, make sure to look into the situation further.
- Acting out in social situations – Abused children may have difficulty controlling their impulses in social settings. They could become argumentative, defiant, or disobedient. It is also possible for them not to know how to show remorse, regret, or guilt after doing something bad.
- Sudden and unexplained fears – Clinginess, anger, excessive crying, or fear of being dropped off at daycare may not simply be tantrums, but signs of abuse. So, always pay attention to your child’s reaction to specific persons, places, or activities as this may indicate that you already need the help of a sexual assault lawyer.
How to Protect Your Child from Abuse in Daycare
Now, that you understand what could happen to your child or any other kid who may become a victim of child abuse in daycare, make it a point to choose the right child care provider for your child. Protect your child by securing a safe learning environment for them and the points below will help in making choices.
- Open door policy – Make sure that you and other parents have the freedom to go and visit your children at any time they are in daycare. Do not go for facilities that ask for parents to call before visits or have certain areas parents could not access.
- Bathroom policy – Bathrooms in daycares must not have isolated areas. Also, it is important that you know who takes the kids to the bathroom, at what time, for how long, and for what purpose. Approximately two-thirds of all exploitation and sexual abuse in daycares happened during trips to the bathroom.
- Discipline policy – This should be thoroughly discussed and you must know who does the disciplining, what circumstances warrant it, and in what form is it administered. Make sure to ask your kids about their time at a daycare and pay attention to what they tell you about the discipline they may have experienced.
- Outside Visitors – Find out if there are other persons involved in the care of your child or in taking care of the daycare’s facilities, like janitors, bus drivers, or relatives of daycare workers. Make sure that your kid does not come in contact with these people. In a nationwide study of daycare abuse, it was found that 36% of the cases were done by people related to daycare staff, mostly sons or husbands.
- Staff training – Inquire about the training and education of all daycare workers dealing with your kid. Ask if they were screened for emotional stability, criminal history, and substance abuse. Abuse in daycare may stem from a discrepancy in the hiring or training of personnel.
You can learn more about the daycare you have chosen to entrust your kid to by going there frequently. Volunteer for any outing or activity, so you can see how the staff handles the kids. If you notice anything suspicious, report it immediately to the proper channels or contact a lawyer who specializes in sexual abuse among children.
If you have a loved one or you know of someone who has been abused in daycare and you don’t know what to do, you can contact Diamond & Diamond to ask for help today.
How British Columbia is Keeping Kids Safe from Abuse
British Columbia has channels where child abuse can be reported as soon as possible. You can refer to the Child, Family, and Community Service Act to know more about the Duty to Report. You can also check out the Child Abuse Prevention Handbook, which contains the requirements for reporting children and youngsters who are being abused sexually or otherwise.
Sexual abuse in Canada can be reported at any time of day or night by calling 1 800 663-9122. You can also seek assistance from a child abuse lawyer, who can guide you on what to do regardless of whether it’s your child or another’s who was abused.
Get the Help of a Child Abuse Lawyer
Sexual abuse in daycare is getting more common than any parent could ever have anticipated. So, you and any parent should now be more cautious about who you trust in taking care of your children. You should also be aware that there are child abuse lawyers who are ready to take on these cases as soon as you report them. You can even contact Diamond & Diamond today for a free consultation.
“If you are a youth or a child who would like to talk to someone, you can call Helpline for Children at 319-1234. You don’t need an area code and you can call at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You don’t even have to give your name. As of August 2020, the average wait time to reach a ministry representative is 10 seconds.”