In one year, the hospital serves more than 600 children and adolescents who have been victims of violence

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Each year, Pequeno Principe Hospital receives children and adolescents who are victims of all forms of violence: sexual, physical, emotional, neglect or self-harm. In 2021, there were 618 visits – an 11% increase over 2020 data – and again the main violence was sexual, with 344 victims, or 55% of the total cases. In 76 cases, this was not the first case of such violence by children or adolescents.

Out of the total number of cases, 136 girls and boys need to be hospitalized to recover from injuries or to be removed from family life until the child protection agencies take appropriate protective measures. A 4-month-old baby entered a brain death protocol after arriving at the institution with multiple fractures and traumatic brain injuries. A disturbing piece of information relates to the young age of children who were victims of violent situations last year: 282 were up to 3 years old.

Childhood stress – from pregnancy to 6 years of age – including exposure to violence, has long-term negative psychological and physiological consequences, which can lead to lasting changes in the developing brain, for example, cognitive functioning, language acquisition and self-control in this age group, maturity and Children still cannot protect themselves or seek help from this situation due to scarcity.

Unfortunately, where children and adolescents are most vulnerable to violence is at home: the 471 cases registered in 2021 were of a domestic nature. More than half of the attackers were men (63.7%), and the father was identified as the main suspect. “Attackers usually take advantage of the bond of established belief with the victim, in addition to knowledge of routines and habits, to practice violence and avoid further suspicion of such an act by those responsible and family members. Therefore, it is important to observe behavioral changes in children and adolescents.” , Analyzed by Daniela Prestes, a psychologist at the Pecuano Princip.

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According to a UNICEF study on the effects of the Kovid-19 epidemic on the mental health of children and adolescents, one in seven people between the ages of 10 and 19 suffer from a mental illness that can lead to disability or even death. World. Also considered violence, self-harm is quite worrying. In 2021, the youngest victim of suicidal ideation in the organization was a 7-year-old child.

In all, 52 children and adolescents in the Pecuino Princip have been assisted in self-harm. 173% increase compared to 2020 data, while the hospital received 19 cases of such violence. Of the 21 incidents, this was not the first time. “During times of isolation, with less family and social interaction, it affects everyone’s emotions, especially children and adolescents, who are more likely to seek help, mainly in the school environment. The whole context of the epidemic added to this has further weakened the boys and girls “, the psychologist explained.

Self-harm is often the result of psychological violence, which is more difficult to detect. The World Health Organization describes it as a threat and intimidation, abuse of power, discrimination, rejection and other non-physical forms of adverse treatment. According to the latest data from the National Human Rights Ombudsman, more than 34,000 reports of such violence among 17-year-olds were investigated in Brazil in 2020.

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In the case of sexual violence, most of the children treated at the hospital in Pecuino Princip are girls – 78% of the total. The age group with the highest number of registered cases is women between 4 and 7 years, with 107 cases reported. Among men, records of sexual violence are concentrated between 5 months and 3 years – in 32 cases. Of the total, 220 children and adolescents were injured and 31 needed hospitalization. Home was the safest place for these children, as 75% of the cases were domestic in nature. As the author of the crime, 60% of the attackers were part of the victim’s family circle.

After sexual violence, the highest number of cases of negligence was registered: 150. In 32 cases, the child is not the first victim of such violence – which is seen as intoxication, broken bones and head injuries.

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Since 2006, Pequeno has been promoting Príncipe Campaign for Life ViolinAndnTheo Can identify children’s futurewA., To give visibility of action in dealing with the violence propagated in the organization. The campaign seeks to highlight community solidarity, through manual and educational lectures aimed at health and education professionals, self-defense books and videos aimed at children and adolescents, posts on social networks, press releases and support for digital influencers since 2019. The problem is, it either helps professionals identify signs of violence, or encourages people to complain.

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