Netherlands: Child abuse in immigrant families

There is no data about child abuse and sexual abuse in immigrant families, but it is much worse than believed, think those who are involved.

If you don't talk about it, it doesn't exist, is the opinion in the Moroccan community. "But it is very serious," says agent Mohammed Cheppih at the congress of child and sexual abuse of immigrant youth, yesterday in Amsterdam-Slotervaart.

Nobody knows how serious. Nobody can ignore the number on the international day of children's rights. Every week somebody dies through child abuse, and per class three children are the victim or witness of ill treatment or abuse. There is no data from immigrant circles.

The numbers can be very dreary, came out in Slotervaart. Speaker Ben Rensen, youth doctor for 25 years in an Utrecht "problem neighborhood" spoke about risk factors for child abuse. Through one stress factor in the family , a kid has a 3% chance of being abused by a parent. In multi-problem families - difficult immigration, unemployment, language problems, poverty, small housing etc - with many stress factors that can get up to above 20%.

According ot the most recent study, 1 in 10 you with a Moroccan or Turkish background are victims of sexual coercion, often in the family circle. Researcher Oebele Kooistra says that sometimes the numbers are 1 in 4. A new study is seriously needed, and then the biggest problem would be getting past the front door.

Spitting in the face, hitting: it's part of upbringing, heard congress organizer Fatimazohra Hadjar around her. "I see the hidden scars of those youth. But society sees youth who hang around turn into rascals. And rascals into unscrupulous bulldozers, into criminals. Nobody asks themselves where this desire for self-destruction comes from. Society doesn't want to see them as victims, but as offenders."

"Child abuse has no color but is a terrible taboo in the immigrant community." That is a problem, says Hameeda Lakho, who had been abused for years by her father and stepmother and has written three books about it. "There is shame, honor related violence, we close our eyes or try to solve it within the walls of the house or family. If we don't break through this circle, it will be passed on from generation to generation."

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

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