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Every Parent's Nightmare

The essential guide for adults dealing with child abuse. Includes: signs of abuse; abuser and grooming process; addressing the problem; supporting your child; the legal process; preparing for court.

Sales price: R 140.00

Author: Bruna Dessena

In this revised edition, find out about:

  • the signs of abuse
  • which children are most at risk of being abused
  • the different types of abuse
  • paedophiles and the grooming process
  • cyber-grooming and cyber-bullying on the internet
  • addressing the problem when you suspect abuse or when abuse has been disclosed
  • supporting your child emotionally and practically
  • the legal process
  • preparing for court
  • hints and tips for keeping your child safe

Child abuse has to be one of the greatest evils in any society, a secretive sin that betrays innocence, destroys the essence of childhood, and can cause lifelong emotional pain and dysfunction.

Bruna Dessena, an Advanced Life Support paramedic, has been a child abuse activist for more than 19 years. She was a Childline counsellor for many years, as well as a trainer and Senior Facilitator at the Teddy Bear Clinic in Johannesburg, where she helped prepare children and parents for court. She has lectured on child abuse to pre-hospital professionals such as paramedics, as well as med-school, nursing and sociology students. As a parent herself, Bruna knows that every parent’s nightmare is that one day their child might be abused.

How do you deal with that? How do you help the child? What do you do first? What will happen next? In Every Parent’s Nightmare Bruna answers all these questions. She explains the signs of abuse, which children are most at risk of being abused, and then she tells you about paedophiles and paedophile rings, including how they groom children over time to gain their trust before they abuse them. She also covers the legal aspects, what should be done when you find out, and what happens in a court of law. She includes a brand new chapter on cyber-grooming and cyber-bullying and what you need to look out for as a parent.

Bruna includes the Sexual Offences Act and the Children’s Act so that you’ll know the child’s rights and what you can expect from the legal system in South Africa. She has also included many helpful resources and contact numbers at the back of the book.

Written simply and without undue melodrama, Bruna gives it to you straight. This book is highly recommended for all adults who have children or work with children.

"Nothing can prepare a parent for hearing that their child has been abused. Whether the information comes from the child or someone else, the news is devastating."




"So often in my practice I am faced with distraught teachers who have been told something in secret and don't know what to promise the child; or who to tell when the parents don't respond; or even what the legal impact will be on themselves. Then there are the worried mothers, who know it can happen, because it happened to them, but have no practical information with which to tell if they are being paranoid or complicit. Most sad of all are the children themselves; who I invariably meet through a peer they have told: so often stuck in a situation where they don't want to lose their family; unsure whether it is something they are doing that is making it happen; and without the life experience to know what else to do to make it stop.

Plain speaking, and without pretensions, Bruna's writing has the immediacy of first-hand experience: as a victim, as a survivor, and as someone who changed things for herself and for other people's children. It says that there is something horrible happening under our noses, far more often than we allow ourselves to believe. It tells you what to look for; how to avoid putting your own children at risk; and what steps to take to stop it if it has already happened.

In a world where Nursery School children can have porn videos sent to them on their cell phones; where teenagers can send explicit images of themselves or their friends around the school in a matter of hours; and where mxit and Facebook can provide predators with the perfect front to engage with uninformed teenagers, there is an urgent need for easily readable information to reach parents, teachers and teenagers. This book is it!"


Sharon Doubell, Clinical Psychologist, Upward Spiral Psychology Consulting, Gauteng


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"I have just finished reading the book and can honestly say that it mirrors the no-nonsense and easy to understand lectures that Bruna gives on the subject ... and complements the lecture perfectly. This is not to say that the book on its own is not useful – in fact I think it will be essential in arming those faced with these realities to better understand the subject.


I found the book both moving and informative: written passionately where necessary and dispassionately when appropriate – like when providing the facts; this being done in a manner that informs the reader without invoking unnecessary emotion that so often messes up the process of dealing with abuse."


Darren van Zyl, Co-founder of the Medicare Academy of Emergency Care Training and AEA co-ordinator of COJEMS Training Academy, Johannesburg


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"Every Parent's Nightmare is very informative and easy to read. The personal touch makes the reading easier and drives home the importance of the topic.


I recommend that anyone involved in the care of a child should read this book. The more informed we are, the better the chances of preventing the abuse.


This should be readily available reading in all schools and other venues where people may need to know about child abuse, both with regards to recognition and actions that should be taken.


I commend Bruna on this excellent contribution to the ongoing struggle against child abuse."


David Stanton, Course Co-ordinator Netcare 911 School of Emergency and Critical Care

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Other books by Bruna Dessena:

Tales from my Stethoscope


A percentage of the proceeds are donated to organisations that provide services in the area of child abuse.




Sample pages from the book (the pages may not run consecutively):





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