The children who fall victim to tragic circumstances such as personal injury, traffic collisions and criminal acts including family violence and sexual abuse, are truly innocent victims says a news release from the OPP.
"Children have little way of understanding what has happened to their parents or even to themselves in any of these stressful situations. Police officers know the trauma children suffer but while attempting to comfort child victims, they often become only one more frightening aspect of an already overwhelming and terrifying experience."
Thanks to the generous support of corporate sponsors, OPP cruisers come equipped with special teddy bears that can be given to children in need.
When OPP officers are investigating a situation involving small children, a Community Bear may be gifted to a child (typically under the age of 12 years) to help them get through a traumatic experience, giving them something positive to focus on.
"Children experience a wide range of physical and emotional reactions during and following a traumatic event. The symptoms and feelings may last from a few days to a few months, and typically fade over time as the child gradually processes that trauma," add the release.
"Regardless of what causes the trauma, that child must cope with the loss, at least temporarily, of their sense of safety and security. Frightened or traumatized children – especially very young children – often express their feelings by means of behavioural changes. These changes are the child’s way of saying that he or she was overwhelmed by something very terrifying.
Common emotional effects of trauma include:
- shock, denial or disbelief, confusion, difficulty concentrating, anger or irritability, mood swings, anxiety or fear, guilt, shame and self-blame.
- withdrawal from others, expressions of sadness or hopelessness and the feeling of being disconnected or numb.
Common physical symptoms of trauma include:
- Insomnia or nightmares, fatigue, being easily startled, difficulty concentrating, racing heartbeat, edginess and agitation, aches and pains and muscle tension.
These websites provide additional information about child safety and dealing with trauma: