Parents urged to remain vigilant during Christmas season
The Children's Authority is advising parents who are preparing for the Christmas holidays to keep their guard up, amidst the merriment of the festivities.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Authority said it continues to record a spike in reports of abuse following the closure of schools for holidays like Christmas, Easter and July-August.
Acknowledging that parents may not have the flexibility to be in their child's presence on a 24 hour basis, the Authority said it is important for Guardians to be a trusted adult. It said however, that perpetrators of abuse are known to children and so, parents should have conversations with their little ones to establish an open line of communication to allow children to divulge any incident.
"Children should be encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings so that they feel comfortable disclosing any incidents of abuse or inappropriate situations."
Parents were also reminded to keep an extra eye on teenagers, especially when venturing into shopping centres.
"With respect to teenagers, they should not be left to wander alone through Malls and shopping areas, as they can be easily targeted."
The Authority reminds parents and guardians to observe the following to ensure their children’s safety:
1 Enforce reasonable curfew for teenagers to prevent night time danger
2 Be aware of your child’s online activities
3 Get to know the adults and other children with whom your child interacts and carefully observe these relationships
4 Be wary of “one on one” time that children might be spending with any adult, including a family member
5 Do not serve alcoholic beverages to children
6 Be wary of physical changes in your children (e.g. marks or redness on body; discharges when bathing or changing young children, pain or discomfort in any body part especially genitals)
7 Know some of the non-physical signs of child abuse - depression, fear or avoidance of a certain adult or place, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, bed wetting, nightmares, inappropriate sexual behaviour, poor hygiene, secrecy and hostility
The public is reminded that child protection is everyone’s business, therefore, all suspicions or incidents of abuse should be reported to the Police at 999 or to the Authority’s hotlines at 996 or 800-2014.
Social media users are urged to follow the Children's Authority on Facebook, for more tips.