Children abused after parent dies, new report shows

Bereaved children are suffering in silence even when they are
being abused following the death of a parent, according to
Childline Scotland.

More than 900 children, some as young as seven, phoned Childline
Scotland’s helpline last year to talk about their loss since
they could not confide in their families or friends. Of those using
the service, one in four children claimed they were being
physically or sexually abused or neglected following the death of
the parent or guardian who had previously protected them.

A majority of the callers were girls aged 11 to 16 years. Half
of all calls concerned the death of a parent, while a third
concerned the death of a pet.

Anne Houston, director of Childline Scotland, said: “Adults very
often don’t bring up the topic of bereavement because they
are scared they upset the children or remind them of what they have
seen. But it is most likely that children want to talk, and we need
to make sure they have somewhere to turn.”

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