When burns are not an accident in our children! (Child Abuse)

Burns in young children arise in relation to three patterns of parental behavior. Accidents result from lapses in the usual protection afforded to the child, neglect from inadequate or negligent parenting, and in case of abuse the burn is deliberately inflicted, often as a form of punishment.

Non-accidental burns are considered a serious form of child abuse because of the pain, anxiety and morbidity accompanying this form of injury and in view of element of premeditation in some cases. This form of physical abuse must be identified to protect children from further harm.

The diagnosis of abuse in childhood burns remains difficult and unless other injuries, such as bruises or fractures, coexist may not be considered by the doctor. As Creative Youth Agency, we put a mechanism of investigation of abuse; this involves a coordinated input from a team, including a surgeon, paediatrician, nurse, social worker and police officer. Behavioral characteristics of the children and their interaction with parents and staff provides additional valuable information. Another useful forensic aid is photography of the burn, showing the pattern in relation to different postures in which the child might have been held.  

Creative Youth Agency embraces children with burns especially non-accident burns and believes in protecting and fighting for their rights. We also help in connecting them to the best plastic surgeons in the country to get free plastic surgery in order for them to heal. We avail these children with a team of professional counsellors to guide them through their healing process. And because some of these children are bullied and discriminated in school because of their traumatic scars, we go to these schools and sensitize the students about embracing their peers who have burns and also encourage these children to stay in school.

Testimonial from Aisha Nabukeera

It was around 7pm, when my step Mother sent me to buy paraffin for our lamp. When I came back home, she gave me a new long sleeve dress that stretched slightly below the knees to put on. When I interjected that the dress stinks of paraffin she barked at me and forced me to put it on which I did. She then ordered her children to move out of the house and told me to light the lamp. Being a 9 year old obedient girl, I lit the lamp. No sooner had I lit the lamp than I was set on fire. I can never forget the immense pain and deep wounds I got around the chest, hands and fingers. This up-to to date has been the most traumatizing moment in my life. Despite of all these setbacks, I have moved on. I have come to appreciate the scars on my body and am thankful to God for having enabled be complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Social Administration at Uganda Christian University recently.

When Creative Youth Agency approached me to meet and motivate children with burns like mine, I was very delighted. I hope my story can inspire other survivors especially children undergoing violence situations. In most cases, these children with non-accidental burns have no one to run to because they are under the custody of these perpetrators. Also,  scalded children are usually bullied and discriminated in schools because of their scars. There are very few organisations to address such an issue and am glad that an organization like Creative Youth Agency has come up to address such a sensitive issue.