Introduction

From the moment of conception, could parents be actively involved in protecting their child from being a victim of abuse or becoming an abuser?

Are both parents equally valued by medical professionals?  Do midwives and health professionals support both parents to understand the influences and responsibilities they have toward their child?  Should society provide additional support for lone parents?

Once the child is born, are parents taught to recognise signs of abuse?  What positive parenting advice is given? Is it the responsibility of the state to support parents and what are the appropriate vehicles for intervention?

Do the services surrounding the child also support the parent or does the focus on the child actively exclude and isolate the parent? What about the saying that “It takes a community to raise a child”?  Is this still the case or have social changes created isolated family units?

These are the questions that need to be debated. There seems to be an assumption that people innately know how to be parents and have all the necessary parenting skills.  Rather than equipping and supporting parents, too often the state only becomes involved once a child is vulnerable, a family is identified as high risk or, shamefully, once a child is a victim of abuse.