Shall I remind you of the time that you saw it happening, but you did not say a word? You thought to yourself how awful and terrible the situation must be, but you just walked away. The next time you saw me, you said to a friend “Someone should do something about this,” and then continued with your day.
I am here and not by my personal choice but deserve to be treated with love and kindness. I do not ask for this pain that I often endure. You see me, the way I look and the actions taken around me. Although I have not words to articulate what’s happening to me, your voice I continually seek! Be the voice that our children do not have!
Every day in this country, 1,900 children become victims of abuse or neglect, and four of them will die.
• It won’t make a difference what I have to say. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed as well, and a pattern can help identify child abuse and neglect that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
• I don’t want to interfere in someone else’s family. The effects on a child are lifelong, affecting future relationships, self-esteem, and sadly putting even more children at risk of abuse as the cycle continues. Break the Cycle.
• What if I break up someone’s home? The priority in child protective services is keeping children in the home. A child abuse/neglect report does not mean a child is automatically removed from the home—unless the child is clearly in danger. Support such as parenting classes, anger management or other resources may be offered first to parents if it is safe for the child.
• They will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymous. In most places, you do not have to give your name when you report child abuse. The child abuser cannot find out who made the report of child abuse. Contact your local Department of Human Resources.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD Psalms 127:3
Reporting child abuse can bring up a lot of difficult emotions and uncertainty. You may ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing, or question if your voice will even be heard. Here is a suggestion for communicating effectively in difficult situations: Try to be as specific as you can. For example, instead of saying, “The parents are not dressing their children right,” say something like, “I saw the child running outside three times last week in subzero weather without a jacket or hat. However, remember that it is not your job to “prove” abuse or neglect. If suspicions are all you have, you should report those as well.
Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
By: Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
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