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There is a level of harm, defined in the legislation, where statutory authorities will intervene if a child is in danger of abuse.
The Children First Act 2015 (ROI) defines harm as assault, ill-treatment, neglect or sexual abuse, and covers single and multiple instances.
The Children (NI) Order 1995 uses the term ‘significant harm’ rather than ‘child abuse.’ The term ‘significant harm’ is the ‘threshold’ or benchmark that justifies the state to intervene in family life.
A person with a disability is less vulnerable to abuse than a person without a disability.
Not every child with a disability is vulnerable in every situation. However it can be said that certain factors may mean that children with a disability are more vulnerable and could therefore be more open to abuse.
Historically, children with a disability have been encouraged to comply with other people’s wishes, for example, in residential homes and hospitals and this has meant they are more vulnerable to be bribed and manipulated
Only girls are sexually abused
Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race, or ability.