By Jennifer Leighfield • 01 March 2021 • 23:17
CREDIT: Hans Kretzmann - Pixabay
THE Andalucia Child Abuse Hotline received more than 4,000 calls in 2020.
The free hotline for notifying child abuse, 900 851 818, of the Junta de Andalucia Council for Equality, Social Policies and Conciliation received 4,583 calls from minors, which is 19.54 per cent down from 2019.
Of these calls, 3,254 were for possible cases of abuse, which led to 2,860 case files being opened.
Home confinement in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic meant that many cases were not reported or seen, according to the Council. It also made it harder to anonymously report situations of abuse, because the children were permanently living with those responsible for abusing them.
This, Councillor Rocio Ruiz said, was one of the things which most concerned the department during confinement. The hotlines were kept open, and despite the number of calls falling, the number of children and teenagers involved in possible situations of abuse rose from 4,395 to 4,687 in 2020.
Many of the calls were to alert of people breaching lockdown measures aiming to protect the minors, or regarding properties in bad condition being occupied by families with children.
There were also calls reporting difficulty in complying with visitation schedules in cases of separation or divorce which meant one of the parents was unable to see the child.
During lockdown, children called to report violence from one of their parents or from their parents’ partners. There was also more involvement from outsiders, and there was a significant rise in the number of calls from concerned neighbours.
More than 38 per cent of the calls reported emotional abuse, while 28.5 per cent reported physical abuse, 27.1 per cent were regarding negligence and 2.8 per cent were regarding sexual abuse.
In some cases, the same child suffered several types of abuse.
There were more calls regarding males (49.58 per cent from males) as in 5.12 per cent of cases the gender was unknown; and the majority of the calls, 32.86 per cent, were regarding children between 12 and 17, followed by 32.71 regarding children aged between six and 11.
Only 3.99 per cent of calls came from the children themselves, although 84.82 per cent were anonymous.
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Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics.
Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.
I wonder, how many instances there have been wherein immense long-term suffering by children of dysfunctional rearing might have been prevented had the parent(s) received, as high school students, some crucial parenting or child development education by way of mandatory curriculum?
After all, dysfunctional and/or abusive parents, for example, may not have had the chance to be anything else due to their lack of such education and their own dysfunctional/abusive rearing as children.
Nonetheless, child abuse and trauma, in all its chronic forms, causes the child’s brain to improperly develop; and if allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it acts as the helpless child’s starting point into an adolescence and (in particular) an adulthood in which its brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines.
Yet, general society continues to misguidedly perceive and therefore practice human reproductive rights as though we’ll somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs.
A psychologically sound as well as a physically healthy future should be all children’s foremost right—especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter.
“It has been said that if child abuse and neglect were to disappear today, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual would shrink to the size of a pamphlet in two generations, and the prisons would empty. Or, as Bernie Siegel, MD, puts it, quite simply, after half a century of practicing medicine, ‘I have become convinced that our number-one public health problem is our childhood’.” (Childhood Disrupted, pg.228)
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