To policymakers

Listen to us! Silence

It is adults who usher children into the world.

Children need adults to help them to understand where their difficulties come from and what responsibilities they carry.

Children need to understand what is happening to them at any time.

Adults need to be able to listen to what a child says and help a child understand what support they can get.

Children need respect, time and patience from adults in order to build trust. Policy makers should make it possible for those whose profession is to help children, to be able to listen, take time and be patient.

Children want to be informed, and where possible involved, in what happens and the plans adults make to protect them.

Hear us out, we’ll shoot you!

Being involved can help a child to regain some control of what is happening.  It can be the start of building confidence and trust in themselves and others.

When children are not ‘heard’, when their opinion is not taken into account, protective measures can be perceived as controlling and can be re-traumatizing for the children.

Policy makers need to understand that child participation promotes protection and child protection is key to participation. Children’s views must be invited and given due weight as an important step at every point in a child protection process.

Having the children take part does not require special professional skills. It is not a complicated action or specialized means of protection. It is rather an attitude towards the children. It is a chance for children to be heard and understood. It gives them a feeling that they are meaningful, that adults think about them, that besides their health and food necessities, their feelings count, that adults are tolerant towards the fact that children are different from them, but understand them because they used to be children once.

It is so simple, it is about someone listening, explaining and including children in the process of dealing with situations affecting their life.

Gallery "What is violence to us?"
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Gallery "What do we need from adults?"