We’re all aware that children across this country are being abused. Until April comes around and Child Abuse Prevention Month comes along, this issue just might not hit our radar. For some people – mostly kids – abuse is a daily event. Here are some statics from TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children.
In Texas, more than 3 children die from abuse or neglect on average every week, 182 children are confirmed victims daily, and more than 7 children are maltreated every hour.
What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child that results in harm or injury. There are four basic types of child abuse. Children being abused are likely to experience more than just one type of abuse.
Signs of Child Abuse
- Unexplained injuries
- Changes is emotional behavior
- Returning to less mature/younger behavior
- Fear of going home
- Changes in school performance or attendance
- Lack of personal care in hygiene
- Risk-raking behavior
What are the types of abuse?
Failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, medical, or emotional needs. Leaving a young child home alone or failing to provide needed medical care may also be considered neglect. Over 80% of child abuse cases in Texas and in the U.S. are the result of neglect.
A physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, such as bruises, fractures, or death. It also can include a genuine threat of harm even if there is no visible injury.
An action that results in a marked impact on a child's growth, development, or psychological functioning. Emotional abuse includes extreme forms of punishment such as confining a child in a dark closet, habitual scapegoating, or belittling to the point that it results in noticeable effects on the child's daily functioning.
Sexual conduct harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare. This includes fondling a child’s genitals, penetration, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or producing pornography.
Everyone is a Mandatory Reporter in Texas
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a central place to report:
- Child abuse and neglect.
- Abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation of the elderly or adults with disabilities living at home.
- Abuse of children in child-care facilities or treatment centers
- Abuse of adults and children who live in state facilities or are being helped by programs for people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities. These are run by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) or Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).
Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony. Time frames for investigating reports are based on the severity of the allegations. Reporting suspected abuse makes it possible for a family to get help.
Dean & Draper
This week’s blog was disturbing to write and read. We would hope that in our world abuse simply wouldn’t happen. Of course that’s simply not the reality of our times. You are invited to browse the links embedded in this blog and learn more about what you can do to prevent abuse.
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