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Identify the effects, characteristics, and ways to prevent kinship abuse

Illustration of sexual violence. (Source: TirtoID)

UNAIR NEWS – All children should have a fun and safe world. Protection of children is the responsibility of parents and their closest relatives. But unfortunately, every day we keep hearing about children being violated and abused by the child’s closest relatives, even biological parents.

In the last quarter of 2023, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) reported as many as 1056 (58.7 percent) violations of children’s rights came from the family environment and alternative caregivers. This must be a common concern. Recently, the mass media have been reporting on sexual violence caretaker cases, as well as on children abuse cases at the hands of their biological father.

The question arises, how can the child’s closest relatives and even biological parents perpetrate such atrocities? If the child’s closest relatives become perpetrators of child protection violations, where can the child turn to? Dr. Ike Herdiana MPsi Psychologist, an expert in social psychology at Universitas Airlangga, answered this question. According to her, there are many factors that influence this behavior. The community environment also often normalizes violence against children.

“Society often normalizes parental violence against children under the guise of discipline and others,” Dr. Ike said.

“Other factors include poverty, lack of understanding, education and other personal factors. Perpetrators can also be people with a bad history as victims, or come from disharmonious families, to marital conflicts,” she continued.

Everything that adults are willing to do for their children will certainly leave memories. If parents and close relatives can behave well in the child’s growth and development, good experiences will continue to accompany the child. On the other hand, if the child is treated badly in his upbringing and development, there will be a bad memories that will continue to haunt the child.

Problems exist when these bad experiences haunt the child during their growth and development. Dr. Ike talked about the psychological effects that children experience when they are victims of violence and abuse. She said that there is a risk of their belief that they deserve the treatment they experience. Moreover, there will be guilt, shame, and helplessness.

“Then, believing they are unwanted and not worthy of love or respect, there is a fear of doing something that will upset the abuser, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, trouble doing activities they used to enjoy,” she said.

Social psychology lecturer, Dr Ike Herdiana MPsi Psikolog
Social psychology lecturer, Dr Ike Herdiana MPsi Psikolog

Then, in some cases, the perpetrator often threatens the victim if they report. So the child chooses to remain silent. In fact, children as victims should not be around the perpetrator. There must be treatment and recovery steps so that the incident does not happen again. There are several points that parents or other close relatives need to recognize as signs that a child has experienced violence or abuse.

“In addition to physical marks, it can be seen in characteristics such as nightmares, difficulty sleeping and delirium, appearing more moody, suddenly becoming rebellious, playful and impulsive, fear of people who have similar characteristics to the perpetrator, fear of objects related to the incident, to deliberate actions to endanger themselves,” said Dr. Ike.

Then the child can be moved to a safe house to be away from the abuser. The child needs to be accompanied by a family who can take responsibility for the child’s condition after the incident.

“In essence, the child needs to be kept away from the perpetrator, psychological support still needs to be provided, and the perpetrator needs to be legally processed,” he said.

It is one of the rights of children to have a safe and comfortable place to live. For this reason, parents, as the first home for children, must pay attention to these small things. It is necessary for parents to create a healthy and child-friendly home atmosphere, and bringing up children with disciplined and non-violent pattern.

“Discipline children thoughtfully, don’t get upset, check all actions and words whether they are good or not, because problems can be solved without hitting or shouting,” said Dr Ike.

In addition to identifying the characteristics of children as victims, parents also need to report and support children in the recovery process.  Moreover, it is necessary for parents to build a positive and harmonious relationship with their children by supporting children’s activities and raising their awareness of their rights.

Author: Syifa Rahmadina

Editor: Feri Fenoria

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