This study examines the help-seeking behaviour of children and adolescents regarding potential violence experiences, what they expect from the help provider and what obstacles a child faces when it comes to disclose violence. Confidential, self-completed questionnaires were administered to 216 children and teenagers in Romania. Our findings suggest that girls are more likely to ask for help than boys, and both girls and boys associate failure to seek help with the lack of security of the child victim, but shame and lack of information are also important considerations. When disclosing, children want adults to listen and to act on the information. In their assessment of the desired information and help opportunities, 68% of respondents agreed that it would be best to obtain information on the available sources of support in situations of violence in schools through teachers. School could be the most important arena where children can turn to adults for help, but teachers and school psychologists are not the most preferred group of specialists for children. Children most often would disclose their abusive out of school experiences to police and child protection workers when disclosing to professionals. This contradicts the results of the literature and draws attention to the impersonal adult-child relationships in Romanian schools.

Keywords: help-seeking behaviour; child abuse; helpers characteristics; children’s perspectives

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