Child Abuse in America Post 2

What are some indicators of emotional abuse? In emotional neglect an indicator would be apathetic or depressive behavior; anti-social or hostile responses; loss of appetite and refusal to eat or obesity. While physical abuse may be easily detected, sexual abuse is harder to identify.

These victims of sexual exploitation, molestation and incest normally feel helpless and too guilty to reveal their plight. Although many people are coming forward today due to the openness on talk shows, classroom discussions and the media. However, the shame and guilt that is carried keeps children from expressing themselves sometimes until well into their 30s. The few who are courageous enough to seek help often find themselves accused of lying.

The nature of these crimes makes detection difficult, but sexual abuse should be suspected if the child expresses or implies involvement in sexual activity with parents or other adults; has been diagnosed as having venereal disease of the eyes, mouth, genitals and/or anus. If there is severe emotional conflict in the home, the child may be fearful of intervention, but is telling someone about it anyway. Sexual abuse should also be suspected if the child is known to be a victim of other forms of abuse by parent(s). What are some good resources? Suspected or known cases of child abuse should be reported, not only because such violence is against the law, but especially because rehabilitation is thereby made possible.

Lawmakers and social workers agree that all people should be considered “mandated reporters” in a child abuse situation. They also agree that a treatment-oriented approach is more beneficial to the child and family than mere punitive action. The first step in breaking the vicious cycle of child abuse is to report suspected cases to one of the government agencies designated for the purpose in every county. The local agency accepts information, initiates or recommends action, and refers families to counselors, programs and support groups for every kind of abusive situation.

Responsible agencies are listed under “County” in the White Pages of the telephone directory by one or more of the following names: Bureau of Children and Family Services; Department of Child Protective Services; Department of Social Services; Public Social Services Department. In addition to the local agencies, there are national organizations that study the problems and provide services. These include the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington, D.C., and the American Humane Association in Denver, Colorado. Childhelp in California has a toll free number.

While the statistics on child abuse in America point to a staggering national problem, individual families can be greatly helped by an alert relative or neighbor who cares enough to intervene. Do not be afraid to take action. You may save a child’s life. You may also do this anonymously. Additional information and research data collected herein provided and given credit to, Focus on Family.