What should you do if you suspect child abuse?
Report it immediately. Tell someone.
Make sure people are aware.
Don't let anyone tell you the are 'taking care of it.'
You take care of it yourself by calling and reporting.
Allison Hoffman asked what we should do about children that are not our own.
You can call this National Hotline at any time in the United States.
This hotline is anonymous, but if you would like to give a report and find out what happens, you can contact your local Children and Youth and make a report.
Every state has a Child Protective Services Agency.
You can also call the police when you suspect abuse. The police can write a report if you were witness to the abuse. If they can not write a report, they can direct you to the Child Protective Service Agency in your region to which you can report.
If you suspect abuse and fear for a child you want to have as many eyes and ears on this child as possible.
If a child shares with you make sure they know you listened to them.
Make sure they know you are going to take action.
If it is not your child, talk to the parent (as long as they are not the abuser, of course.)
Make sure the child knows they didn't do anything wrong and this is not their fault.
Remind them that they are important and significant.
Every child is.
When should I talk to my child about this?
I don't think you can start too young.
Of course you don't want to be telling your 1 year old about sex, but you do want to start making them aware of their private body parts and you want to make sure they know that no one should touch them there.
You don't want to go around glaring and hating every person that comes in contact with your child
but you do want to be aware.
Kaishon recently started youth group at church on Tuesday nights. He loves it. I met his youth group leader and I really liked him. I got a great feeling. Kaishon likes him.
That did not stop me from contacting the church and asking if every youth leader has Child Abuse Clearances. They do, by the way.
I also know that the leader will not be alone with my child in any rooms.
You don't want to live in fear every day, you just want to keep your eyes open. All of us have the ability to protect
What is going to happen when I report?
Someone will investigate. A social worker will be in touch with the child and the child's parent. The social worker will also interview the alleged abuser. The social worker will tell you the alleged abuse was Found or Unfounded. If it is founded, the predator will likely have to go to court to fight the charge. If it is unfounded the alleged abuser will not have any consequences.
Here are some traits of a Sexual Offender as found on Oprah's website.
- Adults who seem preoccupied with children
- Single adults who work or volunteer with children's clubs/activities and frequently spend their free time doing "special" things with kids
- Adults who spend time volunteering with youth groups who do not have children in those groups
- Adults who seem to engage in frequent contact with children, i.e., casual touching, caressing, wrestling, tickling, combing hair or having children sit on their lap
- Adults who act like children when with children or who allow children to do questionable or inappropriate things
- Adults who want to take your children on special outings too frequently or plan activities that would include being alone with your child
- Adults who do not have children and seem to know too much about the current fads or music popular with children
- Adults that your children seem to like for reasons you don't understand
- Adults who seem able to infiltrate family and social functions or are "always available" to watch your kids
How to recognize if your child is being abused:
National Sex Abuse Registry can be found here.
The truth is Sexual Abuse is very disturbing.
No one wants to think about it,
but we simply must.