ABOUT 62 percent of Australians have admitted to knowing of a victim of child violence, while 80 percent believe that most cases of child violence have gone unreported, World Vision Australia has shared.
The charitable group is alarmed over the misinformation many Australians have regarding child abuse, and expressed fears that this might actually put more children at risk for violence.
The respondents told World Vision Australia that they think children are at risk from strangers in public places. But World Vision Australia counters that the most common child abusers are not always strangers but immediate family members.
“We can see from this report that the public’s misunderstanding of violence may actually be putting children at risk,” said Melissa Stewart, World Vision Australia’s Senior Advisor on Child Protection.
She described child violence as “the growing, silent horror of our time” and said that the public’s knowledge regarding this alarming truth is “just the tip of the iceberg.”
She stressed the need for people to be more aware of child abuse in order to bring down the numbers of child abuse.
“We know that violence can contribute to a lifetime of mental, psychological, social and other challenges for a child. Understanding these harmful myths can help World Vision and other organisations address them and work towards the solutions needed to protect children in Australia and overseas,” she said.
Stewart also gave suggestions on how to stop encouraging child violence.
“Fortunately there are things that Australians can do if they want to be a part of the solution – such as voting with your dollar by buying ethical products that have not been produced using forced, child and trafficked labour, and encouraging local businesses to stock more ethical products,” she said.