Thursday, November 17, 2011

What should I do if I suspect sexual abuse of a child?

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.


Valeria asked 
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 
our children.

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:

• Have nightmares, sleep too little or too much?
• Have extreme fear of the dark or “monsters?”
• Have a loss of appetite or trouble eating or swallowing?
• Have sudden mood swings: rage, anger, fear or withdrawal?
• Fear a certain person or place? (A child may not want to be left alone with a babysitter, friend, relative or other child or adult.)
• Complain frequently of stomach illness with no identifiable reason?
• Engage in sexual activities with toys or other children, such as simulating sex with dolls or asking other children to behave sexually?
• Display new words for private body parts?
• Refuse to talk about a “secret” he has with an older child or adult?
• Talk about a new older friend?
• Suddenly have money?
• Cut, burn or harm himself or herself as an adolescent?
Other signs include excessive masturbation, excessive crying, wearing many layers of clothing, vaginal discharge or bleeding.

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.


Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

Great advice and beautiful photos. Love that rusty fence!

Ewa said...

Things like that should be always reported
I have two kids, my little is all the time with me, so no worry there, but I always listen to my 11 year old and make sure she can trust me with everything

mommy of Five said...

This post made me sick...but thank you for posting it. this is such a serious issue and needs to talked about. I think some people just don't know what to do with information like this. who to talk to and so they try to take it into their own hands and sometimes nothing gets done.
Please becarful leaving your children with people, even some in the church setting. just because they work in the setting doesn't 'mean they are cleared. those reports are great but f the person has been an abuser and have never been caught they will be "clear" be very sensitive to what your children are telling you both in words and action.
thank you again for this post and the wisdom you are sharing.

photowannabe said...

This is a heavy duty post Becky.
Growing up I never even know about such things. We definitely need to watch out for our childrn and listen and believe what they say.
I know that at our church you have to be bonded to work with the young ones and only certain ones can change them.
Its a scary world but we can't go blindly on our way.
Thanks for the post.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I can't imagine anyone NOT reporting to authorities if they suspect a child is being abused but sadly-- we are seeing all over the news that is not always the case.

Your words are POWERFUL and informative. Thank you.

xoxo jj

deb duty said...

Your photos are so lovely, but more importantly thank you for this information.

alicia said...

A topic not to be taken lightly. Thanks for sharing this valuable info. And thanks for sharing your beautiful photos for the Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge!

Valeria said...

thank you Becky

Breena said...

Great message and beautiful pictures. Thanks so much for linking up at "Life as this Mommy knows It"!


Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud said...

First, let me start off by saying that I love your photography. Always have. Second, the information you shared is so incredibly important. As a survivor of sexual abuse, it's something that's near and dear to my heart.

Deanna@Life.Captured. said...

Such a wonderful job of using your photos to get your message across. VERY moving. Such important information. Beautifully presented. Simply stunning.

andi {the hollie rogue} said...

such a great (and scary) subject to make us all aware of. thanks for adding those beautiful photos into the poignant words and for linking up!

Anonymous said...

It is hard to think about these things. Thank you for sharing.
-from a Survivor

Lisa said...

This is AWESOME! One time there was a man at our karate school that was very interested in my young son...who was about 10 at the time. Something came over me and I thought WHAT??? WHY??? This guy was a teacher at the high school. I started to talk to people about this guy and they said he was just weird. I watched this guy for an hour while I taught my class ...THEN I reacted very strongly! I told this man he was not to be my son's friend he was to stay away from him. I told him I didn't like him. I told him I didn't like him around my son and I pointed out the kids that were mine and he was to stay away form. He accused me of being crazy and everyone said I was wrong for coming on so strong. I didn't care... The next week again I was at work...this child of mine wanted to go out to the parking lot to get something out of the car he had left. Because I was teaching a class I said okay go on. The car was close and there are lots of windows in this place, people coming and going all the time...I told my son to come right back fast. Something came over me and I left my class to follow my son. It only took a minute...As I walked out the door of the Karate school I saw a car pull up and a man talking to my was the man I told to stay away from my little boy. As soon as this guy saw me he pulled away. My son told me this man wanted to meet my son is secret. among other things ~ I told my son to stay away from this guy...he was no good! I talked to the police, I talked to my boss...I told everyone I knew I didn't want this man around my child. When the man came to the karate school the next day I talked to him. :) In other words I told him what I thought of him, I told him if he didn't stay away from my kids things would not go well for him. I told him if I saw he even even looked my child's way I would be going to his boss next. I told him I didn't want to ever see his face again around me or my son and if I did..." again things wouldn't go well for him" ~ he knew this mamma bear meant every word of it! I often think of this and what could have been if I blinked. Now

I just want to tell mom's to follow your gut! Don't ever question it...your gut knows. GREAT POST BECKY!!! Reading this makes me cry! to think this could happen and does happen.


Jason, as himself said...

Crucial, crucial topic. Thank you.

And I fully agree with Lisa's words: "Don't ever question it...your gut knows."

So pay attention to your feelings, people!

Maria said...

I liked this post a lot.

But, I do need to add something. I work with abused children often. Just telling social services may not be enough. They are understaffed and overworked and not just a little bit. A LOT. They often have an incredible number of people to visit in a very short period of time. They miss things because of this.

If you strongly suspect abuse and nothing is done....KEEP TALKING. Ask them to go out again. And again. Eventually, someone will hear you and a lengthy interview will take place.

But, you can't just shrug your shoulders and walk away if no one is listening and you KNOW IN YOUR GUT that something is very wrong.

I have learned that when people tell me that they just have a "gut" feeling about themselves, they are usually spot on.

The School Nurse said...

Thank you for writing this post.

Bevy said...

This is certainly a {scary} subject... thanks for bringing it to light. It's tough - but we need to be tougher. It could happen to anyone...

On a side note. Thanks for your comment(s) today. One from you is a compliment. But Five! From You! Today?!?!? That is way awesome. I will tell my family hello from you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Patrice said...

A powerful post

angie {the arthur clan} said...

Oh Becky...thank you so much for sharing all of this information for everyone to read. Someone I love was molested as a child and she is still struggling trying to deal with it as an adult. It is absolutely devastating! This was such important information for us all to read.

los angeles personal injury attorney said...

It is important to report these sexual abuses to the authorities at once before it is too late. Investigations will be easier if the evidence of the abuse are still fresh.