Unfortunately child abuse and neglect are on the rise in the very places we would least expect it. A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds and more than five children die every day as a result of child abuse. This equates to 3.3 million reports every year in the United States according to the National Child abuse hotline and Childhelp.
We all want to trust that the child care center we have chosen to take our children to for care, love and learning is going to be the place that will provide them with a warm, safe and secure environment. When a day care center breaks our trust the result is devastating and significant.
What is Child Abuse?
There are several forms of child abuse but in general it includes intentional conduct that causes physical, emotional or psychological harm to a child.
• Sexual abuse (sexual acts performed with children, using children in pornography or prostitution)
• Physical abuse that leads to injury (abrasions, bruises, lacerations, welts, burns, scalds, reddening of surface tissue lasting more than 24 hours)
• Denial of critical care (neglect)
• Exploitation (use of child for parent or custodian's material gain)
What is Neglect?
The failure of the person you entrust for the care of your child to provide the adequate food, shelter, clothing, emotional support, or other care necessary for the child's health and welfare who places the child in a life-or health-threatening situation. (Abandonment, unattended physical problems or medical needs, consistent lack of supervision)
Listen to Children
It is important to listen when young children make comments or statements that relate to abuse. Often times children will try to communicate with an adult that they feel comfortable with in a trusted environment. Listen to them respectfully and calmly. The sad statistic is that many children believe they deserve the abuse and keep it a secret. Try not to show shock, disbelief or horror as it may cause the child to refrain from giving you all the information. Although children are imaginative, in general, preschoolers and young children do not usually make up these types of stories.
If a child is confiding in you try not to put words or images in their mind in efforts to gain more information as it will detour the truth. Make note of the child's actual words and write it down so that you can report it accurately.
Reporting the Abuse or Neglect of a Child
When you suspect abuse please note that you do not need to prove that it occurred. Making a report is just requesting an investigation. Also note that a person who in good faith reports a suspected case has legal immunity from liability. The source of the information is kept confidential, if at all possible.
The Arizona law has mandatory reporting laws for certain persons who suspect that a child has received non-accidental injury or has been neglected to report their concerns to CPS (Child Protective Services) or local law enforcement. You can help to protect a child by reporting and calling toll free Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445)
Kinerk, Schmidt & Sethi PLLC, wants you to remember that you may be a child's only advocate so take a part in helping to protect our children by reporting incidents of possible child abuse.