Misconceptions of Reporting Child Abuse

Juli 7, 2008 amitamit

Misconceptions of Reporting Child Abuse
When a child abuse tragedy is reported in the media, neighbors often say that they thought something was wrong, yet too often no reports of known or suspected abuse were made to the police or local child protective services agency.

According to Childhelp®, surveys have shown that, although the majority of Americans polled believe that everyone should play a role in stopping child abuse, many people also admit to witnessing child abuse and doing nothing about it.

The reasons for not reporting abuse include not knowing where to call and misconceptions regarding what will happen once a report of known or suspected abuse is made to the police or a child protective services agency.

Many people incorrectly believe that:
• By law, abused children must be removed from their homes immediately, which is the least likely outcome.
• Child abuse cannot be reported anonymously. In most states, you don’t need to provide your name.
• The person reported for abuse is entitled to know who made the report. They are not.
For definitions of child abuse or reporting numbers in your area, call the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD® (1-800-422-4453). The hotline is staffed by degreed professionals 24 hours a day who accept calls from the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Calls are anonymous and toll-free. State-of-the-art technology provides translators in 140 languages.
Immediate Effects of Child Abuse

The immediate effects of child abuse can be extremely serious, especially in infants, where some of the serious injuries and fatalities result from shaking during the first 12 months of life. In both infants and older children, the effects of child abuse vary according to the types of abuse or neglect and can be identified by the following signs.

Physical effects of child abuse
1. Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, or welts in the shape of an object
2. Bite marks
3. Anti-social behavior
4. Problems in school
5. Fear of adults

Emotional effects of child abuse
1. Apathy
2. Depression
3. Hostility or stress
4. Lack of concentration
5. Eating disorders

Sexual effects of child abuse
1. Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts
2. Nightmares and bed wetting
3. Drastic changes in appetite
4. Overcompliance or excessive aggression
5. Fear of a particular person or family member

Neglect
1. Unsuitable clothing for weather
2. Appearance is dirty or unbathed
3. Extreme hunger
4. Apparent lack of supervision

Long-range effects of child abuse

Statistics underscore the alarming effects of child abuse over time:

• 36.7% of all women in prison and 14.4% of all men in prison in the United States were abused as children.

• Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely to abuse alcohol and 3.8 times more likely to become addicted to drugs.

• One third of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.

For more information on the effects of child abuse, refer to Information on Child Abuse (this will link to new version of “Helpful Links” page).(ndk)

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