10 Apr Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
“Everyone in a community has a vested interest in everyone else’s children because everyone else’s children determine the next adult population that makes for a successful society.” Jack P. Shonkoff M.D.
The State of Kentucky exemplifies the sentiment quoted above. ALL Kentuckians are mandated reporters. This means any adult that suspects child abuse must report it. Face It, an initiative of Kosair Charities is dedicated to emphasizing the importance of recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect as well as building awareness on how to report concerns. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, concerned neighbor, or someone in the helping profession, Child Abuse Prevention Month is an empowering opportunity to be a face that ends child abuse in the commonwealth.
According to the latest federal Child Maltreatment Report, professionals submitted 66.7 percent of reports alleging child abuse and neglect. This percentage includes teachers, police officers, lawyers, and social services staff. Nonprofessionals, including friends, neighbors, and relatives, submitted fewer than one-fifth of reports (17.0%). Unclassified sources (anonymous, other, and unknown) submitted the remaining reports (16.3%).
The impact of child maltreatment can be profound. Research shows that child maltreatment is associated with adverse health and mental health outcomes in children and families, and those negative effects can last a lifetime. Gaining child abuse knowledge and having Courageous Conversations on the Nuances of Reporting may provide assurance when making the decision to report.
Four Common Types of Abuse and Neglect:
1. Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical injury.
2. Sexual abuse involves pressuring or forcing a child to engage in sexual acts.
3. Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being.
4. Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs.
Knowing the Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect is an Essential Tool for Anyone:
• Child Care Professionals – Tips for Child Care Professionals.pdf
• Educators – Tips for Educators.pdf
• Health Professionals – Face It Toolkit for Health Professionals.pdf
• Parents and Caregivers
• Youth Program Professionals – Attend a free Face It training
How to Report Child Abuse/Neglect:
• Emergency: Call 911.
• Call toll-free 1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331.
• Report child abuse online non-emergency only
The Following Basic Information is Requested When a Report is Made:
• The child’s name, sex, and approximate age.
• The name of the person believed to have been responsible for the abuse or neglect.
• A description of the injury, neglect, or threatened harm to the child.
• The current location of the child; daycare or school; home address.
• Any immediate risk to the child OR the caseworker attempting to ensure the child’s safety (i.e., guns).
• The reporter’s name and identifying information, (if the caller wishes to give that information). Anonymous reports are accepted and investigated.
How to Support/Help an Abused or Neglected Child:
• Avoid denial. Remain calm. If a child trusts you enough to tell you what happened to them, remaining calm and collected is important. If you have an adverse reaction, they may get uncomfortable and stop sharing.
• Don’t interrogate. Let the child tell you what happened in their own words. Leave it up to the investigators to get more answers.
• Reassure the child they did nothing wrong. Let them know that you take them seriously and will do everything in your power to keep them safe.
Kentucky now has the 5th highest victimization rate in the nation of child abuse and neglect. compared to 1st for three years prior. Face It works to keep kids safe and strengthen families by promoting best practices in abuse prevention and intervention, engaging the community in prevention and reporting, and advocating for policy change on the state and local levels. Check out the Face It policy agenda. Our children are counting on you!