Tag Archive | reporting

What To Do If A Child Reports Abuse

Here’s a text from another great site about child abuse:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/child_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm

You may feel overwhelmed and confused if a child begins talking to you about abuse. It is a difficult subject and hard to accept, and you might not know what to say. The best help you can provide is calm, unconditional support and reassurance. Let your actions speak for you if you are having trouble finding the words. Remember that it is a tremendous act of courage for children to come forward about abuse. They might have been told specifically not to tell, and may even feel that the abuse is normal. They might feel they are to blame for the abuse. The child is looking to you to provide support and help- don’t let him or her down.

Avoid denial and remain calm. A common reaction to news as unpleasant and shocking as child abuse is denial. However, if you display denial to a child, or show shock or disgust at what they are saying, the child may be afraid to continue and will shut down. As hard as it may be, remain as calm and reassuring as you can.

Don’t interrogate. Let the child explain to you in his/her own words what happened, but don’t interrogate the child or ask leading questions. This may confuse and fluster the child and make it harder for them to continue their story.

Reassure the child that they did nothing wrong. It takes a lot for a child to come forward about abuse. Reassure him or her that you take what is said seriously, and that it is not the child’s fault.

Reporting child abuse and neglect

Reporting child abuse seems so official. Many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives. However, by reporting, you can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child and the child’s family, especially if you help stop the abuse early. Early identification and treatment can help mitigate the long-term effects of abuse. If the abuse is stopped and the child receives competent treatment, the abused child can begin to regain a sense of self-confidence and trust. Some parents may also benefit from support, parent training and anger management.

Reporting child abuse: Myths and Facts

  • I don’t want to interfere in some one else’s family. The effects of child abuse are lifelong, affecting future relationships, self esteem, and sadly putting even more children at risk of abuse as the cycle continues. Help break the cycle of child abuse.
  • What if I break up someone’s home? The priority in child protective services is keeping children in the home. A child abuse report does not mean a child is automatically removed from the home – unless the child is clearly in danger. Support such as parenting classes, anger management or other resources may be offered first to parents if safe for the child.
  • They will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymousIn most states, you do not have to give your name when you report child abuse. The child abuser cannot find out who made the report of child abuse.
  • It won’t make a difference what I have to say. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed as well, and a pattern can help identify child abuse that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

Child Abuse Hotlines: Where to call to get help or report abuse

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Some signs of neglect

I found a pretty good website with information about child abuse.  I’ll use that information to go through the major symptoms and causes of child abuse.  

It’s never an easy decision to report suspected abuse or neglect.  I’m quoting from the following website in the hopes that it might help someone make decisions in the best interests of a child.  Legally people in some professions are obligated reporters of child abuse and neglect.  Morally all human beings are obligated to protect children.  

 

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/child_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm

Some signs of child neglect:

  • Clothes that are dirty, ill-fitting, ragged, and/or not suitable for the weather
  • Unwashed appearance; offensive body odor
  • Indicators of hunger: asking for or stealing food, going through trash for food, eating too fast or too much when food is provided for a group
  • Apparent lack of supervision: wandering alone, home alone, left in a car
  • Colds, fevers, or rashes left untreated; infected cuts; chronic tiredness
  • In schoolchildren, frequent absence or lateness; troublesome, disruptive behavior or its opposite, withdrawal
  • In babies, failure to thrive; failure to relate to other people or to surroundings

A single occurrence of one of these indicators isn’t necessarily a sign of child neglect, but a pattern of behaviors may demonstrate a lack of care that constitutes abuse.

Who to Call for Help

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline:      1-800-4-A-CHILD

Call this number for help if you are  1) a victim of child abuse     2) a survivor of child abuse     3) an abuser or someone who is afraid they may abuse a child     4) a witness of child abuse or someone who suspects a child is being abused .  Your call is anonymous.

How to Tell

My mom was careful to hurt me in ways that did not show.  During those years we attended church three times a week.  We sat on our pew with clean clothes, neatly combed hair, and Sunday morning smiles.  Mom was an enthusiastic Sunday school teacher.  She was eccentric, but accepted.I was surprised when one day she made a mistake.  She hurt me in a way that was as plain as the nose on my face.  One day, in a fit of rage, she pinned me down and rubbed all the skin off my nose and cheeks.  The wound was large and the wound was obvious.  They could Tell.The long looks I took in the mirror removed any lingering doubt.  Someone would notice.  Someone would ask.  That knowledge filled me with an indescribably twisted mixture of hope and terror.We went to church as usual and of course we pretended my wound wasn’t there.  And like the emperor’s new clothes, when we pretended, everyone else did too.  Everyone pretended except for my youth minister.  I’ll call him John.John pestered me about my nose.  He ignored all my brush-offs and dodged all my lies.  He told me it didn’t look like I fell.  He told me bumping into a door couldn’t possibly do that.  He told me he wanted to know.  He wanted the truth.  He begged me to tell him.So for the first time in my life, I Told.  I Told everything.  John inhaled with a short, swift breath.  Then he was quiet for a long time.  A look of curiosity flashed across his face, then confusion, and finally he smiled.”Good”, he said.  “You probably deserved it!” When John walked away that day I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  I Believed him.  More than two decades passed before I ever Told again.