Meaning of Domestic Violence

More than you might think, domestic violence is a phenomenon that is very present in families, affecting children, adolescents, women and the elderly, in greater proportions than that seen in relation to men.

Domestic violence is understood as the manifestations of abuse that can affect the person psychologically.

Forms of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence against children and adolescents can manifest itself in several ways in addition to physical aggression. Thus, violence through threats, humiliations and other forms that affect children and adolescents psychologically is common.

Another constant form of violence is omission : some parents fail to provide the necessary care for the growth of their children, who begin to suffer deprivations essential to their education, such as lack of affection, cleanliness and even adequate food. It is worth mentioning that this omission is not always due to the situation of poverty in which the family lives.

One of the most perverse forms of violence against children and adolescents is sexual abuse . More common than believed, it causes severe trauma to these people.

How to perceive the existence of violence?

Children and adolescents, victims of domestic violence, usually present several associated physical and psychological symptoms, which can be observed through their behavior.

Thus, it is interesting to be aware of skin marks and fractures, remembering that they may be due to violence, especially when repeated. The marks can be left by burns or by some household object such as a belt, an iron and clothes hangers.

In addition, the child’s appearance may be a reason to suspect domestic violence, showing a lack of adequate food (not always due to poverty) and lack of cleanliness and hygiene, for example.

Parents who mistreat their children are also sometimes negligent in other ways: preventing them from attending school or failing to provide health care for the child, who has several illnesses, for example.

The child or adolescent, a victim of violence, often suffers from severe traumas and reacts to them differently. Thus, some modify their regular behavior, becoming sad, aggressive, rebellious, tense or childish for their age. Sometimes, they have difficulty understanding the teachings, refuse to participate in the proposed activities and miss classes.

Finally, it is worth mentioning aspects related to sexuality, which sometimes manifests itself visibly incompatible with the child’s age group. In some cases, symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, certainly resulting from sexual abuse, are also seen.

Many other characteristics are verified in this children and adolescents. The educator will certainly perceive, with the necessary clarity, others that are not mentioned here. Several of these evidences taken together lead to the suspicion of violence, requiring special care by the school staff.

What to do in the face of suspicions or cases of violence?

When the child or adolescent starts to present several characteristics of associated mistreatment, it is necessary to raise the hypothesis that he is suffering aggression. In that case, a careful investigation must be carried out. This procedure should be developed with the help of other professionals, such as psychologists, doctors and lawyers.

Communication to the competent authorities is certainly an essential measure for the best handling of the case. Thus, the Tutelary Council of the region, the prosecutor of children and youth, the judge of children and youth, the police authority, government agencies for child and adolescent assistance, such as the SOS Criança, must take note , and Centers for the Defense of the Rights of Children and Adolescents if they exist in the region.

How to contribute to the prevention of violence against children and adolescents?

Educators are certainly in a privileged position to deal with matters relating to children and adolescents. Therefore, its contribution is essential for the development and consolidation of mechanisms to protect the rights of children and adolescents provided for in the Brazilian legal system.

Each educator, individually or the group of educators of the school together, has the power to influence the reality that exists in the locality in which they operate. Some ways of acting are suggested below:

  • Formation of groups of educators to study and discuss this topic at school;
  • Formation of interdisciplinary groups (composed of teachers, doctors, lawyers, psychologists, etc.) to deal with the theme;
  • Performance with the Guardian Council;
  • Work with the Municipal Council for the Defense of the Rights of Children and Adolescents;
  • Encouraging discussion on the topic through, for example, debates with the presence of authorities involved in cases of abuse against children and adolescents.

Domestic Violence