How to Recognize and Report Child Abuse

By: Laura Que

As responsible adults we have a moral responsibility to look out for a childís welfare. Their physical and emotional health - even their very lives - depend on the guidance they receive from parents, relatives, guardians, teachers., etc. Tragically, there are adults who misuse their power, who turn the childís life into a living hell.

Most child abuse takes place in the home. Usually, kids are not mature enough to recognize the danger signs or understand they are being abused. Or, they are too frightened to say anything. Here are the forms which child abuse can take and the signs which may indicate that a child is in an abusive situation:

Physical Abuse:

Emotional Abuse

Physical Neglect

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Reporting Child Abuse

Members of certain professional occupations are required to report child abuse cases. But anyone who reasonably believes something is wrong should also do so. The misconception exists that, after a report of child abuse, the parents are arrested and the child is put in a foster home. While this may happen in extreme cases, itís more likely the family will be referred to counseling or parenting classes, based on the recommendation of trained child protective agency investigators after careful study and evaluation. Their goal is to try to keep the family intact. Suspected child abuse may be reported to your local police department (many of which have Child Abuse Units), or the county welfare department. Check your phone book under "police departments" and "government-county."

Also: National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453

Parents Anonymous 1-213-388-6685

Sexual Abuse Hotline 1-800-4A-Child (422-4453)

Laura Que is the author of the personal protection manual "ON GUARD How You Can Win the War Against the Bad Guys, from which this article was developed.

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