Of course the best choice would be if sexual abuse could be avoided, but even the strictest facility cannot supervise all children 24/7. The economy will suffer. The clients whether it is parents or the public sector will not pay tor full staffing 24/7 seven days per week.
So sexual abuse will happen at some point, in fact surveys made after year 2000 show that it happens twice per month on average in Danish foster families, group homes or residential treatment centers.
Knowing that it is inevitable the next thing is to handle it correctly. Left untreated the molested child could grow up and be a molester later in life. A survey from 2006 did show that most of the residential treatment centers had no knowledge of the strategy and guidelines the government had made to deal with this issue. The result could be that the molested children were not cared properly for. A tragedy not only for the child victimized by the abuse but also possible for the family of the molested child later in life.
Now here in 2011 there are no signs that the situation back in 2006 are changed. However With a new government in charge there is hope that changes are possible.
A number of changes are required:
- The number of children who are removed from their families need to be lowered as a lot of the problem is based in the number of placements. Denmark has 25 percent more placements than countries like Norway or Sweden. A lower number of placements will reduce sexual abuse as a lower number are easier to monitor.
- All staff member of foster parents should be taught how to observe the signs of sexual abuse happening during the placement of the child. It is very easy to assume that changes in behavior are rooted in experiences before the placement. However a number of cases show that there is a need to change the pattern of the thinking among the staff so they become aware that the abuse can take place during the placement.
- The staff should be taught how to help and treat a molested child so the victimized child doesn't have to be moved to a new facility and by this move experience what only can be seen as a defeat and a punishment.
Let’s hope that the new government in Denmark will be able to do that.
Source (In Danish)
Seksuelle overgreb på børn og unge på døgninstitution - omfang og indsats</a> (Anvendt Kommunal Forskning - 2006)