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Child Abuse Not Just a Bruise

Child Abuse Not Just a Bruise

Sacred Heart Secondary School, Convent of Mercy, Clonakilty, Co. Cork


The Idea

The end goal was to address the often misunderstood definition of child abuse, and show people that Child Abuse is Not Just a Bruise. Initially, they began simply with the aim of raising awareness in their own community as to what exactly counted as child abuse. They felt children especially needed to know more about what counts as wrong, and their school environment was the perfect place to reach young people.

As the project developed, their aim changed to focus more on the specific steps to take if you suspect a child is being abused or are in an abusive situation yourself. They felt this had never been properly covered in school. They hoped to make people more vigilant about cases of child abuse, to show them that it can happen to anybody. They chose the topic of child abuse because, for too long, it has been a hushed-up subject, never receiving the attention it needs. Recently, the child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church have been released, and they felt that this was the perfect time to address the issue. Many people have the stereotypical view of child abuse as being physical, but emotional neglect is often just as terrible. The group wanted to educate people on all the different aspects of child abuse.

The Action

They began working within the group, communicating their thoughts and ideas and learning from each other. Everyone had a valuable contribution to make, and this merging of different views and ideas proved to be of immense help. Their YSI coordinator helped them throughout the year, guiding them and offering advice. They worked with their Religious Studies teacher and Guidance Counsellor who spoke with them about how to talk to students in the school about such a sensitive issue. The group was also in close contact with Barndardos and Childline, receiving information packs and organizing a guest speaker.

The Impact

The Child Abuse group had a great impact in the school. They surveyed people about their understanding of the topic and published the results on a school noticeboard. They received information packs from the Ombudsman for Children. They held a poster campaign in the school, which proved to be very successful. At the Showcase they showed a video they had made, this had an astounding impact on the audience. They also provided information to students about child abuse, raising further awareness. Their Twitter account would also hopefully reach a wide audience. To highlight the importance of communication, they planned a giant chain of Chinese whispers and they also organised a guest speaker from ISPCC to visit them and speak on the issue. Finally, they planned to show their video to people in the media, to get recognition on a wider scale. 

Department of Rural and Community Development
Healthy Ireland
WorldWise Global Schools
Department of Education and Skills
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Tomar Trust
Department of Social Protection
Vodafone Foundation
The Dormant Accounts Fund