Photos Wix Gallery. Portraits are not of real survivors.
Because each year, millions of children around the world are the victims and witnesses of physical, sexual and emotional violence. Child maltreatment is a huge global problem with a serious impact on the victims’ physical and mental health, well-being and development throughout their lives – and, by extension, on society in general (WHO | ISPCAN).
Survivors of child abuse and neglect struggle with mental health problems and other chronic illnesses for life. Not talking about the unthinkable consequences of child abuse only makes things worse - when we lack understanding, we cannot fight this secretive and covered up violence, and we cannot offer survivors the adequate support they need. In many ways, the whole society is affected by this lack of awareness, and this has to change.
We aim to raise awareness on the matter, helping people to acknowledge what characterizes child abuse, the types of abuse, its devastating life-long consequences and how to prevent and treat child maltreatment. Our goal is to disseminate extremely important findings on child abuse and to engage a wider audience in this public debate.
This way, we intend to bridge the gap between knowledge producers and public opinion, democratizing access to findings on child abuse that affect society as a whole.
It's also a space for survivors to better understand what happened to them, to nurture a sense of belonging through consistent and reliable information. We believe that knowledge is power, and we wish to create an international community to fight child abuse and heal this collective trauma.
There has been very little education about child abuse and its consequences. This needs to change, for the sake of the whole society.
Any kind of abuse is about power and control. Child abuse is the most secretive and covered up of crimes.
LET'S TALK ABOUT CHILD ABUSE
The emotional impacts of
abuse are not so easily
"fixable" because people can't see them, and people aren't talking about them.
The physical injury itself has a less severe effect on the child’s well-being than the acute psychological and psychiatric consequences, and the long-term impact on the child’s neurological and emotional development.
We curate scientific research and technical reports published by international organizations, charities, universities and research centres dedicated to investigating the nature and consequences of child abuse all over the world. Our content is based on findings from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC - UK), National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC- UK), The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect (ISPCAN - US), Crimes Against Children Research Center (US), and we're constantly searching for other professional bodies.
All these institutions produce an extraordinary and extremely relevant content that is consistent and reliable. They offer us knowledge, insight and the opportunity to rethink what we know about the implications of child abuse for everyone - and what we can do to change this reality.
Child abuse is the most secretive and covered up of crimes. For those who never experienced it, it can seem the most unbelievable of crimes. These are the main difficulties of addressing it: secrecy and denial. Children are not responsible for knowing whether something is right or wrong. Adults are. Many victims don't tell about the abuse until they are much older, often times because they only fully acknowledge what happened to them when they grow up.
Secrecy and denial of abuse, collectively, only benefit abusers. That is why we need to talk about abuse relentlessly, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Until everyone, adults, children and survivors, feel well-informed, aware and prepared, whether to change their attitude, report it, ask for help or to heal. That's our mission at SOFCA, to bring the agenda of child abuse to civil society, via our blog, interviews with specialists, personal statements and constant press releases.
Alexandre Valverde, Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Medical Editorial Consultant.
With these words, Dr Valverde sparked the idea for this portal, admitting that he was a victim of child sexual abuse himself, and ready to stand up and advocate for the cause. Author of the Mental Health app BemTeVi, he provides an insider viewpoint, both as an experienced clinician and a survivor of child abuse.
"There is no mental health struggle without a story of some sort of abuse underlying"
- Alexandre Valverde
"The worst thing about being an abused child is that you learn, at a very early age, that what you want and feel don't matter, and you take it for life"
- Kika Salvi
Kika Salvi, Journalist and Researcher, Head of Content.
Kika Salvi has been writing about abuse and neglect since 2013 and has dealt with the life-long consequences of child sexual abuse herself for decades. She also provides an insightful view of the issue as a researcher and activist on VAC.